Hi there Treehouse I'm nearly at seven years The breast cancer had spread throughout both lungs and liver before I even found a lump.
Most women with stage IV breast cancer are treated with systemic therapy. This may include hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or some combination of these. Local treatments such as surgery or radiation might also be used to help prevent or treat symptoms.
Stage 4 breast cancer means that the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, such as the brain, bones, lung and liver. Although Stage 4 breast cancer is considered incurable, current advances in research and medical technology mean that more and more women are living longer by treating the disease as a chronic condition. With excellent care and support, as well as personal motivation, Stage 4 breast cancer may respond to a number of treatment options that can extend your life for several years.
The stage of the cancer helps you and your doctor:. Breast cancer stage is usually expressed as a number on a scale of 0 through IV — with stage 0 describing non-invasive cancers that remain within their original location and stage IV describing invasive cancers that have spread outside the breast to other parts of the body. Your pathology report will include information that is used to calculate the stage of the breast cancer — that is, whether it is limited to one area in the breast, or it has spread to healthy tissues inside the breast or to other parts of the body. Your doctor will begin to determine this during surgery to remove the cancer and look at one or more of the underarm lymph nodes, which is where breast cancer tends to travel first.
Many people wonder about the life expectancy for stage 4 breast cancer metastatic breast cancer. In answering this question, it's important to note that everyone is different and survival rates vary widely. In addition, there are some people who survive many years and even decades with stage 4 disease.
Your specialist will take a number of different factors into account when deciding which treatment is best for you, including:. Secondary breast cancer may respond to several types of treatment. Doctors try to start with treatment that has as few side effects as possible.
When Heather Jose was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancershe set a goal: Live to see her month-old daughter go to kindergarten. That day came and went long ago; in fact, she recently saw daughter Sydney off to her sophomore year of college. A cancer survivor for nearly 19 years, Jose wants people to know that living with advanced cancer is possible, and more women will have the chance as treatment options expand.