The number of people diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing each day, so in order to
increase knowledge about the signs of breast cancer and overall risks and treatment, breast
cancer awareness has been started. People are being educated through campaigns and sessions
to achieve greater knowledge that will help in early diagnosis and survival due to early
treatment. Breast cancer occurs when cells in your breast increase in number in an
uncontrolled manner and later lead to the formation of a tumour. The risk of getting
diagnosed with breast cancer increases with ageing and weight gain. Hence, breast cancer in
young women is very rare. Sometimes the growth of cells is not cancerous. This tumour is
called benign, but if they grow in an uncontrolled manner and affect the normal functioning of
the breast, these tumours are cancerous and known as malignant.
What is Metastatic Breast Cancer?
Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced form of the disease. Common signs of
metastatic breast cancer include the spread of cancer cells to other different organs of the
body like the liver, lungs, bones and brain. It is termed stage 4 cancer.
The cure for stage 4 breast cancer is very complicated, and hence it is advisable to get treated when the cancer is in the early stages. In this stage, the cells transit from the initial tumour and travel to other organs via the bloodstream or lymph vessels that work to get rid of bacteria,
cellular waste material, and viruses. Some people directly get diagnosed with metastatic breast
cancer, which indicates that the disease was not detected on time and has affected other
organs like metastatic breast cancer in bones.
Metastatic cancer symptoms
1. Brain metastasis
● Visual hindrances
● Behavioural changes
● Personality changes
● Pressure in the head
● Severe headaches
2. Bone metastasis
● Fragile bones
● Prone to fracture
● Swelling or inflammation
● Pain in bones
3. Lung metastasis
● Chest pain
● Respiratory and breathing difficulties
● Long term cough
4. Liver metastasis
● Itchy or irritated skin
● Stomach pain
● Loss of appetite
5. Other symptoms of Metastatic Breast Cancer
● Sudden and unexplainable weight loss
Breast cancer diagnosis
A metastatic breast cancer diagnosis takes place when you notice the above-mentioned
symptoms. Doctors advise the following tests for confirmation of the disease-
● Biopsy to remove the tissue from the area of symptom and study it and find out if
● Blood tests that include a complete blood count and comprehensive metabolic panel.
● The image provides tests to study and analyse the suspicious part like CT Scan, bone scan,
MRI of the brain or spine and PET.
● Bronchoscopy is a scope that gives a deeper insight into your lungs to study the spot
● Ultrasound or X-Ray of the chest or abdomen.
● A tap removal of any fluid from the affected area with symptoms to understand if there
is the presence of any cancer cells. For instance, a pleural tap is used to remove the
existence of fluid between the chest wall and the lung and a spinal tap is used to
remove fluid from anywhere around the spinal cord.
Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer
After diagnosis, it is important for you and your doctor to understand all possible forms of
treatment and the one perfect as per your particular breast cancer stages and symptoms-
Suppose the breast cancer has spread to some other parts or organs of the body. In that case,
surgery will not be advisable because it's highly unlikely to be able to get rid of all the other
cancer cells, especially in cases where it has reached more than one body part. Still, doctors
might recommend radiation therapy or surgery in order to avoid broken bones or block edges
in cancer cells in the area of the liver in order to help ease the pain and reduce the effect of
other visible symptoms.
Radiation is another good metastatic breast cancer treatment. This treatment is recommended in order to reduce pain, control the power of cancer in a particular area, help in opening blocked airways to help improve respiratory problems, reduce the pressure caused on a pinched nerve, avoid the breaking of a cancer weak bone and reduce bleeding from the skin for any internal bleeding caused due to invasion by tumour.
● Hormonal therapy
This treatment involves medication such as Aromasin, Femara, and Faslodex. These medicines
are used to reduce the speed of growth hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer. If
the case is hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, hormonal therapy is not advised. This
method lowers the amount and action of estrogen in the body.
Chemotherapy is a common method used to destroy or damage existing cancer to any possible
extent. Chemotherapy has an effect on the entire body, so it is recommended only if the
growth of cancer is constant after using other forms of treatment, the speed of cancer growth
is fast, and cancer has reached a significant amount in other parts of the body such as lungs or
Keeping awareness about the symptoms and causes of metastatic breast cancer is important.
Self-examination at regular intervals helps identify changes if any and unusual differences can
be analysed and inspected early. Early diagnosis will ensure early treatment, and the rate of
survival will increase.
The New Life Hospital Meera Multispeciality has been providing world-class treatment to
people for many years and aims to assist people with their expertise and guide them through
the path to recovery.