Sometimes, things do not go as we like and breast cancer returns in a different site from the breast - a metastatic site. It's what patients all fear with each little ache and pain, and what your oncologist looks for at each follow up visit. Less common these days is the patient who presents with metastatic disease at the outset - this can be seen with a very aggressive breast cancer, or with a patient who sometimes delays seeking treatment for a primary tumor which has time to develop overt metastases.
Sadly, metastatic breast cancer remains incurable and while some progress has been made we have a lot more room to go.
The identification of HER2 as a therapeutic target and the development of Herceptin - a targeted therapy against HER2 positive breast cancer - has probably been the greatest contribution to metastatic disease in the past ten years.
Metastatic breast cancer can recur in any organ, but most commonly returns in the bone, lung or liver. The "bone on...
We know you really don't want to be here, reading about breast cancer recurrence or metastasis. If you've had breast cancer, the possibility of recurrence and spread (metastasis) of breast cancer stays with you. You may be here because you fear this possibility. Or you may be here because it's already happened.
Keep in mind that a recurrence of breast cancer or metastatic (advanced) disease is NOT hopeless. Many women continue to live long, productive lives with breast cancer in this stage. It is also likely that your experience with treatment this time will be somewhat different from last time. There are so many options for your care and so many ways to chart your progress as you move through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond.
Because there are so many options, this is a long section. You may want to read just a few pages at a time. You might find it very difficult to concentrate, think straight, and remember what you've read. That's natural when you're anxious, uncertain, overwhelmed...
You should knowAnswers to your question are meant to provide general health information but should not replace medical advice you receive from a doctor. No answers should be viewed as a diagnosis or recommended treatment for a condition. Content posted by community members does not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media, which also reserves the right to remove material deemed inappropriate.