When it comes to breast cancer, only a few are aware of metastatic breast cancer. Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre and Research Institute, the best cancer hospital in Kolkata, provides the most advanced and personalized treatment to the metastatic breast cancer patients.
What is Metastatic Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer has different stages from Stage 1 to Stage 4. Stage 1 is the most preliminary stage and Stage 4 is the most advanced stage. Stage 4 breast cancer is also referred to as Metastatic Breast Cancer. If someone is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, it means that the cancer cells have spread beyond the breast tissues to distant organs. Even though the breast cancer cells spread to other organs, it is still called breast cancer due to the primary site where it originates.
Metastasis is the most devastating and destructive form of any cancer as the cancer cells become more resistant to available treatments and therefore, prognosis is very poor for the patients.
Breast cancer metastases can affect any organ in the body. However, depending on the breast cancer type, cancer cells usually land in lungs, liver, brain and bone. For example, ER+ breast cancer usually metastasizes to bones whereas for Her2 breast cancer type, brain is the commonest sight where metastasis takes place. Triple Negative Breast Cancer usually metastasizes to liver and lungs.
Causes of Metastases
Researchers are yet to find out why metastasis happens. However, they have found that cancer cells spread to other organs through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. But it is still unknown how they manage to hide themselves from the immune system for several months or even years. Sometimes, recurrence happens after 15-20 years of successful breast cancer treatment that usually involves surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Symptoms of Metastatic Breast Cancer
Neither early stage nor metastatic breast cancer symptoms always include lumps (most often not painful) in the breast. However, most patients usually feel a tumor in the breast or in the axilla region (under the armpit). Retracted nipple is another common symptom of both early stage and metastatic breast cancer.
Other symptoms of metastatic breast cancers depend on which part of the body cancer has spread to. Followings are most commonly experienced symptoms of metastatic breast cancer:
- Persistent cough, chest pain, breathing problems (if cancer spreads to lungs)
- Nausea, lack of appetite, indigestion, jaundice, fatigue, edema, weight loss (if cancer spreads to liver)
- Headache, blurred or double vision, memory loss (if cancer spreads to brain)
- Pain or fractures in bone, irregular bowl syndrome (if cancer spreads to bone)
Many leading cancer hospitals in Kolkata offer targeted therapy, endocrine therapy and immunotherapy to the metastatic breast cancer patients and Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre and Research Institute is one of them.