Breast cancer with metastases
Breast cancer with metastases is considered the fourth and final stage of cancer. This means that tumor cells from primary breast tumor, spread to other distant organs, where they form new tumors (metastases). Breast cancer can develop secondary tumors throughout the body, but most commonly affects a few specific organs, such as lungs, bones, brain, and liver. The symptoms associated with these organs may be a sign that began its development of a secondary tumor.
Metastases in breast cancer is the result of a late appeal women to the doctor. Removal of tumor tissue, with changes not always mean complete cure. The cancer recurrence may occur at any period after the end of therapy (even after 10-12 years) and metastases after the removal of the breast can start to spread, but it occurs most often during the first three to five years after treatment.
Metastatic breast cancer almost impossible to treat, and patient from the moment of diagnosis live an average of 19 months.
Symptoms and signs
The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer depend on where they again begin their development.
- lymph nodes: the ball in the armpit, neck or around the collarbone;
- bones: bone pain, pathological fractures, called compression fractures, which reduces curvature of the spine;
- lungs: shortness of breath cough, shortness of breath, etc.;
- skin: lump in skin or subcutaneous tissue;
- liver: lack of appetite and weight loss, abdominal pain, jaundice;
- the brain: an unbearable headache, accompanied by nausea, dizziness, blurred vision.
Abnormal cells break away from tumor and enter blood vessels and lymph. Thus, it can spread to other different parts of the body in the body and create new tumors (metastases). The majority of metastases are lymph nodes in the armpit.
In addition to medical history and physical examination are also conducted blood tests. Depending on the results of these studies and information obtained during the survey, doctor may prescribe:
- Abdominal ultrasound (at the location of liver cancer),
- A bone scintigraphy to detect bone metastases;
- Chest x-rays.
Very important is also regular gynecological exam, because the cancer can metastasize to the ovaries and uterus.
In the early stages, this pathology is curable in most cases, while the results of treatment of breast cancer with metastases (stage 4) are not good. Thus, at the stage of development of metastases is virtually incurable and treatment is palliative (relief of symptoms terminally ill patient). One of the types of palliative care is palliative mastectomy.
In almost all cases, the weakening of the symptoms will depend on such factors as age, number of metastases and the organs of their distribution. A positive result can only be achieved if diagnosis is timely and only if metastases after breast cancer cannot spread beyond the organ.
Treatment is complex, it includes such methods:
- Pain relief drugs narcotic origin;
- Systemic therapy (chemotherapy and hormonotherapy), whichaimed at the destruction or neutralization of abnormal cells in other parts of the body;
- Local therapy (radiation, surgery or steroid), which aims at the destruction of metastases.
In most cases, the best method is surgery that involves the removal of breast cancer among women diagnosed with cancer stage IV. If for any reason operation is not possible, then receive chemotherapy.