Metastatic Breast Cancer

Understanding metastatic breast cancer

October 13, 2016

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as part of its awareness campaign, ER24 is urging everyone to get themselves checked. Early detection is key to enabling effective treatment and a better chance of recovery. This week we focus on metastatic breast cancer.

Below are some facts provided by CANSA:

  • No one dies from breast cancer that remains in the breast. The lump is not what kills. The spread of cancerous cells to a vital organ is what kills. This is called metastasis. Metastasis refers to the spread of the cancer to distant organs. When the cancer does so, it is known as metastatic, or stage IV, disease. A metastatic tumor is always caused by cancer cells from another part of the body.
  • Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes under the arm. It occurs in both men and women. With metastatic breast cancer, cancer cells can break away from the original tumour in the breast and travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system. The metastatic tumour in a different part of the body is made up of cells from the breast cancer.
  • Common areas where breast cancer spreads to include the bones, lungs, liver and brain.
  • Breast cancer can be “metastatic at diagnosis”. This means that the cancer in the breast was not detected before it spread to another part of the body.
  • Some women have metastatic breast cancer when they are first diagnosed, but this is not common. More commonly, metastatic breast cancer arises months or years after a person has completed treatment for early or locally advanced (stage I, II or III) breast cancer.
  • When symptoms of metastatic cancer occur, the type and frequency of the symptoms will depend on the size and location of the metastasis. Some people with metastatic tumours do not have symptoms. Their metastases are found by X-rays or other tests.
  • With metastatic breast cancer, pain can be related to treatment or the cancer itself. Pain is not the same for everyone. Pain is usually easier to treat when patient first has it. It is important for patients to talk to their healthcare provider about pain. Sometimes, treatment plans can be changed to reduce painful side effects.

Information from a fact sheet on metastatic breast cancer researched and authored by Professor Michael C Herbst [D Litt et Phil (Health Studies); D N Ed; M Art et Scien; B A Cur; Dip Occupational Health]. Approved for distribution by CANSA Chief Executive Officer, Elize Joubert. For further information on metastatic breast cancer or any other type of cancer, visit


This article was originally published at the “Article” source noted above and distributed by The Tutu Project for informational purposes only.

Tags: , , , , ,

Add New Comment

Related Posts