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Metastatic Breast Cancer: Symptoms and Treatments

23 September, 2020 Ankita Singh

What is Metastatic Breast cancer ?

Metastatic breast cancer is also referred to as stage IV breast cancer. This breast cancer has now metastasized to other parts of the body. Cancer metastasize when cancer cells break away from the original tumor in the breast to other parts of the body either through the bloodstream or through the lymphatic system.

Metastatic breast cancer can be a second experience of cancer for some and a first time shock for others. Since breast cancer is not aggressive cancer and doesn’t show any symptoms in the early stages, it is possible that cancer can go undetected for very long and be diagnosed in later stages.

Common locations of metastatic breast cancer

Breast cancer can metastasize to any part of the body but, common locations of metastasis are:

  • Bone (mostly ribs, spine, pelvis, long bones of limbs)
  • Lungs
  • Brain
  • Liver

Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer

Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer vary according to the location of cancer. Buy generic medicines for cancer in India from 3MEDS.

Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer for different locations are:

Bone metastasis

  • Bone metastasis can cause severe pain that increases with activities or with time.
  • It can also cause swelling around the affected bones.
  • Bones become fragile due to which they are easily fractured.

Lung metastasis

  • Lung metastasis can cause a chronic cough.
  • The patient can experience difficulty in breathing and chest pain.
  • The patient can also experience weight loss, poor appetite, and fatigue.

Brain metastasis

  • Brain metastasis can cause a persistent headache that keeps worsening.
  • The vision can get blurry.
  • The patients might experience seizures.
  • Vomiting and nausea are also common symptoms.
  • People around them might notice behavioral or personality changes in the patient.

Liver metastasis

  • Liver metastasis can cause jaundice.
  • Symptoms may also include itchy skin and rashes.
  • The patient will have high levels of enzymes in his/her liver.
  • Other common symptoms include stomach ache, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

Treatments of metastatic breast cancer

After someone is diagnosed with a metastatic breast cancer doctor or a team of doctor will suggest all the possible options. The patient and the family will need to discuss treatment with the doctor and take a decision after weighing all the options.

Some of the available treatment options are:

Surgery: Surgery is recommended in bone metastasis and liver metastasis. In this method, the tumour is removed surgically along with some nearby tissues. This method may not be considered if the cancer is spread in a large area.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to treat almost all types of cancer. This method uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. It does so by stopping their growth and cell division. Different drugs are used according to the location and severity of cancer. Chemotherapy has several side-effects, some of them can be reduced and managed. Buy cancer medicines online at low cost from 3MEDS.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells using high energy particles like X-rays. It is also used pre-surgery to reduce the size of the tumor. Radiation therapy is given post-surgery to kill nearby cancer cells.

Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy also uses drugs like chemotherapy. However, it targets a specific pathway or proteins of the cancerous cells to block their metabolism, eventually killing them. This is usually a better option than chemotherapy and has fewer side effects.

In some cases, the patients decide to stop the treatment especially in very advanced stages of cancer. Some patients also take a break from the treatment. In either case, the patient should talk to experts and family before making a decision. There may not be any right or wrong decision. Even after stopping the treatment, the patient can take medicines to reduce the pain and other symptoms.

Conclusion 

Metastatic breast cancer can make a drastic change in your life. While different people can react differently to the situation there are some things that the patients can do for themselves. You can learn more about cancer and its treatments. Proper information can take you closer to reality and help you in making decisions. You may feel that you have no control over your life. Take your time to process everything. Take emotional help form professionals and talk to other patients and don’t forget to be in touch with your loved ones.