What My Patients Are Asking: Does a Cancer's Stage Change If It Spreads or Comes Back Years Later?

What My Patients Are Asking: Does a Cancer's Stage Change If It Spreads or Comes Back Years Later?

Brian Wojciechowski, MD, addresses confusion around how breast cancer is staged, especially if early-stage cancer spreads or comes back in another part of the body besides the breast.
Sep 17, 2020
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In one of our Discussion Board threads, people were talking about how a breast cancer is staged, especially if an early-stage cancer spreads or comes back in a place away from the breast. Both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute websites say that the stage of a breast cancer at first diagnosis doesn’t change. So a woman who was diagnosed in 2010 with stage II disease and then had a recurrence in the bones in 2015 would technically be “stage II with metastatic recurrence to bone,” which is not how most people think and talk about metastatic disease.

Dr. Brian Wojciechowski reached out to the American Cancer Society about this, and he joins us today to help us all understand this a little bit better.

Listen to the podcast to hear Dr. Wojciechowski each explain:

  • the technical differences between stage IV breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer

  • how prognosis differs for someone diagnosed de novo stage IV and someone who was diagnosed stage II with a metastatic recurrence 2 years later

  • how he talks to his patients about a breast cancer’s stage

About the guest
 
Brian Wojciechowski headshot
Brian Wojciechowski, MD

Dr. Wojo is a medical oncologist outside of Philadelphia, PA, with Crozer Health. His research has been presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, and he is a speaker on medical ethics and the biology of cancer. Dr. Wojo sees cancer as a scientifically complex disease with psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions.

— Last updated on June 29, 2022, 2:46 PM

 
 
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