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...
Oncologists at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium learned about several studies that will help them make decisions about the best treatments for people with metastatic breast cancer .
Surgery for Stage IV women. In the years I have participated in support groups for breast cancer, one of the questions that pops up frequently has been why a woman whose cancer has spread beyond her breast would not have a mastectomy. Almost everyone else with breast cancer has a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. It seems like this group of women whose cancer has reached the most serious stage would need to have the source of their cancer removed.
The standard answer has been stopping chemo or other systemic treatments long enough to do surgery would allow the cancer in a woman’s vital organs to have a chance to grow. There is even a school of thought that removing the original tumor somehow spurs its daughters elsewhere in the body to greater growth....
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