It can be a scary diagnosis to receive but women are living full lives with this disease right now, and doctors are learning more every day.
Statistics show that 1 in 8 women in the U.S will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their life. Of this total, 30% will go onto develop metastatic breast cancer.
Here are 4 things to know about, and cues on where to find more information.
1) It Has Spread
Metastatic breast cancer is stage IV cancer that has spread to an additional part of the body. The metastatic tumor taking hold in a new part of the body is made up of breast cancer cells, even though it may be in a bone or liver.
This happens when cells from the original tumor break off and travel through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system.
2) There Are a Range of Treatments
Treatments for metastatic breast cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. Often, if one treatment stops working, experts say there is another one to try.
3) It Can Be in a Range of Locations
Breast cancer most often spreads to the bone, lung, brain or liver. Sometimes there are symptoms that accompany this new growth, such as pain or blurred vision, and at other times there are none.
4) Living With It Isn’t Hopeless
According to Breast Cancer.org, many people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer go on to live productive lives. Treatment may control the illness for a number of years.