We know you really don't want to be here, reading about breast cancer metastasis. If you've had breast cancer, the possibility of metastatic breast cancer stays with you. You may be here because you fear this possibility. Or you may be here because it's already happened.
Keep in mind that metastatic disease is NOT hopeless. Many women continue to live long, productive lives with breast cancer in this stage. It is also likely that your experience with treatment this time will be somewhat different from last time. There are so many options for metastatic breast cancer care and so many ways to chart your progress as you move through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond.
Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of your body. Metastatic breast cancer is also known as stage IV.
Being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer can be overwhelming. You may feel angry, scared, stressed, outraged, and depressed. Some people may question the treatments they had or may be mad at their doctors or themselves for not being able to beat the disease. Others may deal with diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer in a matter-of-fact way. There is no right or wrong way to come to terms with the diagnosis. You need to do and feel what is best for you and your situation.
There are two important things to remember about diagnoses of metastatic breast cancer:
- You are not alone. More and more people are living life to the fullest while being treated for metastatic breast cancer.
- You can have confidence that there are a wide variety of available metastatic treatment choices. There are many treatment options for metastatic breast cancer, and new medicines are being tested every day. While metastatic breast cancer may not go away completely, treatment may control it for a number of years. If one treatment stops working, there usually is another you can try. The cancer can be active sometimes and then go into remission at other times. Many different treatments — alone, in combination, or in sequence — are often used. Breaks in treatment can make a big difference when the disease is under control and you are feeling good.
In this section, we'll give you the support, information, and practical tips you need to deal with breast cancer that has metastasized. In the following pages, you'll find information on diagnosis and treatment options for metastatic breast cancer, palliative care, and information on living with metastatic breast cancer so you can find the best options for you.
Because there are so many options, this is a long section. You may want to read just a few pages at a time. You might find it very difficult to concentrate, think straight, and remember what you've read. That's natural when you're anxious, uncertain, or overwhelmed. We'll do our best to help you find what you're looking for.
- What Is Metastatic Breast Cancer?
- Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms & Diagnosis
- Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment & Planning
- Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer
- Planning Ahead: End-of-Life Issues
- Slideshows on Metastatic Breast Cancer
- Podcasts on Metastatic Breast Cancer
- Blogs on Metastatic Breast Cancer
- Metastatic Breast Cancer Member Stories
- Research News on Metastatic Breast Cancer
Special thanks to Musa Mayer, author, patient advocate, and publisher of Advanced Breast Cancer: A Guide to Living with Metastatic Disease and AdvancedBC.org.
The medical experts for Metastatic Breast Cancer are:
- Marisa Weiss, M.D., chief medical officer of Breastcancer.org; breast radiation oncologist, Lankenau Medical Center, part of Main Line Health, a five-hospital health system in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA
- Brian Wojciechowski, M.D., medical oncologist, Riddle, Taylor, and Crozer Hospitals, Delaware County, PA
- Sameer Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., medical oncologist, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, PA
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Breastcancer.org and 29 other organizations have formed the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance to increase our ability to help patients and improve outcomes for those living with metastatic breast cancer and their families.