What is metastatic breast cancer? Is it deadly? Can it be prevented? These are all valid questions. Metastatic breast cancer, also known as stage four breast cancer, is a fatal form of the disease. Essentially, breast cancer becomes metastatic when it has spread beyond the breast, through the lymph nodes and other tissue, into other organs in the body.
However, even at this stage, there is hope, as reports show that there is a chance to improve your survival odds with aggressive treatment.  Read on to learn more about metastatic breast cancer, its symptoms, and some ways that it is treated.
Where Can Breast Cancer Spread?
Early-stage breast cancer can be effectively treated and has a very high survival rate. However, if the disease develops to it’s later stages, it can damage the lungs, liver, brain, and bones.
What are the Symptoms of Metastatic Breast Cancer?
In the early stages of development, symptoms can be mild, so it is essential to get regular physical exams and check for signs of breast cancer.
All types of metastatic cancer cause extreme fatigue. You can feel drained even after sleeping for eight or more hours a day. Cancer patients get tired from performing simple daily tasks like walling.
Unintentional Weight Loss
Cancer patients often suffer from loss of appetite. This lack of desire for food will eventually lead to significant weight loss and muscle deterioration.
Many cancer patients become overwhelmed by their condition and fall into depression. If you feel like you need help, it is best to talk to a licensed mental health professional or your loved ones.
Liver Metastases (Malignant Growths)
Metastatic breast cancer is known to spread to the liver and cause extreme abdominal pain. You will also experience a constant urge to vomit. Your skin may start turning yellow due to the decreased liver function.
For many people, the diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer comes after they have experienced a fracture. The disease can weaken bones and make them brittle.
It is least common for metastatic breast cancer to spread to the brain, but it can be the most dangerous. Brain cancer causes seizures, dizziness, and severe headaches.
Breast cancer can slowly spread to the lungs over many years. It will start with minor symptoms like coughing or shortness of breath, but the symptoms will become more severe over time.
How Do You Treat Metastatic Breast Cancer?
Chemotherapy is the most popular treatment for breast cancer at any stage. It is the most effective treatment, but it comes at a cost. The drugs used for killing cancer in chemotherapy are so potent, they weaken your whole body.
Targeted therapy uses particular drugs to eliminate cancer growth without damaging healthy cells. It is the right solution for some patients, but it does cause blood clotting and high blood pressure.
Radiation therapy is the right solution for metastatic cancer that has affected a larger area of the body. Radiation therapy damages both healthy and cancerous cells in your body, so it is vital to stay healthy. It is best to ask your doctor to give you a diet and make sure you are consuming enough calories.
Surgery is the oldest method of cancer treatment. Doctors can surgically remove cancerous tumors from your body. The most significant risks of surgery are infection and pain.
If you have breast cancer, you still have a chance at a full recovery. Start by improving your diet and lifestyle habits. Consult your doctor, and choose the best treatment.