‘Metastasis’ is a word used when breast cancer cells spread from the breast to the other parts of the body, and the term used for this cancer is ‘Metastatic breast cancer’. When anyone is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, it means the cancer is now in critical condition and has moved to the other area of the body.
Metastatic breast cancer develops when the cancer cells invade and start growing around the breast or travel to the other surrounding parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymph node system. Not all types of cancer can spread; the growth and development of cancer usually depend on your cancer type.
Three Ways through which breast cancer spreads
There are three ways through which breast cancer can spread:
- The cancer cell spreads through the bloodstream from the breast to other body parts.
- The cancer cell spreads from the breast to areas surrounding the breast, such as lymph nodes that are present under the arm or near the collar bone.
- Cancer cells can also move from breast to lymph nodes and from lymph nodes to other body parts.
Body parts in which breast cancer spread
List of the body parts in which breast cancer spread are following:
1. Lymph nodes
One of the best places breast cancer can spread quickly is lymph nodes inside your breast, near your collar bone, and under your arm. If a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, can the doctor first check his lymph nodes to diagnose whether breast cancer has spread to them or not? The primary function of lymph nodes is to drain the bacteria or other harmful things from the body, so it is difficult to diagnose the symptoms of breast cancer. Some of the common symptoms of metastatic cancer in lymph nodes are the following:
- Lump or swelling under the armpit
- Lump or swelling in the area of the collar bone or breast bone
- Swelling in your hand or arm
When breast cancer spreads from the breast to the bones, it causes extreme pain to the bone. It can quickly spread to any bone, spine bones, leg bones, or arm bones. It makes the bone weak enough to easily break through a minor injury or accident. Cancer in your spine can create problems for the patient during urination and incontinence. When the pressure develops in the spinal nerves, numbness or weakness develops in different body parts. Some of the common symptoms of metastatic breast cancer in bones are the following:
- Constant pain in bone and joints
- Neck or back pain
- Lack of appetite
- Extreme thirst
- Numbness and weakness in specific areas of the body
- Risk of bone fracture
- Difficulty in urination
If the breast cancer spreads to your liver, you feel a never-ending pain in your belly area because of the defunctioning of your liver. Some of the common symptoms of metastatic breast cancer in the liver are the following:
- Jaundice(yellowing of eyes and skin)
- Rashes and itching
- Abdominal swelling
- Pain in the abdominal region and around the liver
When breast cancer spreads throughout the areas of the lungs or space between the lungs and throughout the cell wall, it builds fluid around the lungs. Some of the common symptoms of metastatic breast cancer in the lungs are the following:
- Cough with blood and mucus
- Difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath
- Never-ending dry cough
- Pain in the lungs area and all around the chest
The breast can also spread from your breast to your brain. Cancer in the brain cause severe headache and makes you feel imbalanced and confused. Some of the common symptoms of metastatic breast cancer in the brain are the following:
- Severe headache
- Vision changes
- Memory loss
- Mood or personality changes
- Difficulty in balance and hearing
- Difficulty in moving ceratin parts
Treatment of ‘Metastatic breast cancer
The treatment of metastatic breast cancer usually depends on the disease’s type and severity. Hormone therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted drug therapy or the combination of these therapies are beneficial during cancer treatment. Surgery and Radiation therapy can also be helpful in some cases to treat metastatic breast cancer.