Get answers to your most pressing questions about living with metastatic cancer.
Discovering that your breast cancer has spread is never welcome news. Yet there are many powerful therapies that can shrink tumors and slow cancer’s progression. In fact, the 150,000-plus women in the U.S. now living with metastatic breast cancer are proof of just how far we’ve come.
If you have metastatic breast cancer, rest assured: With the help of your healthcare team, you may have many more birthdays, anniversaries and holidays to look forward to. Here’s what you need to know to become an informed decision-maker:
How does breast cancer spread?
Cells break off from the primary cancer in the breast and travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. The disease typically spreads to the bones, liver, lungs or the brain—and sometimes to more than one site. The place where cancer cells settle is called a metastasis.
Who gets metastatic breast cancer?
The overwhelming majority of patients are women. Although 61 is the median age at diagnosis, those in their 20s and 80s can get it, too.
How is metastatic breast cancer treated?
Your healthcare team will take into account your age, whether you’ve reached menopause, your health, the location of your cancer and how extensively it has spread. Treatment options include the following:
Your doctor may recommend a single therapy or a combination of therapies. Regular CT scans and blood tests can help determine how well your treatment is working. Work with your doctor to stay on top of your progress. Remember, the goal is to feel your best.