What is the form of breast cancer known as metastasis?


What is the form of breast cancer known as metastasis?


The passing of Australian pop icon Olivia Newton-John has brought awareness to the frequently misunderstood stage of breast cancer known as metastasis.

Newton-John received her initial breast cancer diagnosis in the 1990s and was in remission for 25 years. She raised more public awareness of the stages of the disease by cancelling tour dates after the cancer returned in 2017, this time in her spine.

According to Pat Halpin -Murphy, president and founder of the PA Breast Cancer Coalition, it is uncommon for cancer to come back after more than two decades in remission, but it is possible. For this reason, it is crucial for women and anyone who has had cancer in the past to continue with routine screenings.

According to Halpin-Murphy, "people think that if you've been around for five years, you're sort of over the hump." The Newton-John case, however, demonstrates that "you're exposed at any time."

What is breast cancer that has spread?

"Metastatic" refers to cancer that has migrated from the breast to the bones, liver, or lungs, among other organs. Even though treatments may help slow the spread, metastatic breast cancer, commonly known as stage IV cancer, cannot be cured.

How is breast cancer that has spread treated?

According to Melissa McShane, an assistant professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center who specializes in breast cancer, it depends on the type of breast cancer and where it has progressed. Breast cancer is frequently treated with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery to remove tumors, and mastectomy, which involves removing the breast.

Doctors take the patient's general health, lifestyle, and goals into account when determining the appropriate treatment plan. For instance, some patients could desire aggressive therapy, whilst others might find the side effects and time commitment too excessive.

Who is susceptible to breast cancer that has spread?

Breast cancer with metastatic spread can affect both men and women. Breastcancer.org estimates that 30% of patients with early-stage breast cancer will later develop metastatic breast cancer. At the time of the initial diagnosis, 4% of breast cancers are metastatic.

Can someone who has had a mastectomy develop metastatic breast cancer?

Yes. When a breast is surgically removed, a mastectomy lowers the likelihood that the disease will return to the same location, but metastatic breast cancer is by definition breast cancer that has spread outside of the breast. Following a person's initial early-stage diagnosis, they may go on to develop metastatic breast cancer months or even years later.

How long can someone survive with breast cancer that has spread?

According to McShane, it depends on the type of cancer, the extent of its spread, the patient’s treatment regimen, and how their bodies react to it. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is 29%, which indicates that those with this cancer have around a 29% higher chance of living for at least 5 years following diagnosis than those without it. However, women with metastatic breast cancer are now living longer thanks to more effective treatment options.

Is it possible to stop metastatic breast cancer?

No. However, routine breast cancer screening can improve the likelihood of detecting cancer at an earlier stage, when it is simpler to treat. Women over 40 are advised to get routine mammograms. Mammograms must be covered without a deductible by private health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid for those who qualify.

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