One of the scariest forms of breast cancer is Metastatic Breast Cancer, which is a form of cancer that is aggressive in expanding to other parts of the body. It is not so much a form of breast cancer, as it is a complication of breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is more serious than the other forms of cancer, and treatment is usually more to slow the spread of the cancer than to cure, as the prognosis is usually poor on cancer that has metastasized. This type of cancer will spread to areas like the liver, brain, lungs and nearby lymph nodes. The most common part of the body that it attacks is the bone.
Symptoms of Metastatic Breast Cancer
The symptoms that someone with this type of cancer experience depend a lot upon where the cancer has spread. For example, if the cancer has spread to the bone, the patient will have severe pain and sometimes bone fractures, as well as swelling and erythema. If the cancer has spread to the brain, the sufferer will begin to get progressively worse headaches, as well as seizures, vomiting and changes of behavior and personality as the brain is changed by the cancer.
The cancer may also have spread to the liver, which will cause jaundice and an elevated liver enzyme count. The person with metastatic breast cancer will likely have abdominal pain, nausea and will vomit quite frequently, with a very small appetite. The patient with cancer spreading the lung areas will have symptoms that include a chronic and sometimes severe cough, as well as chest pain and dyspnea. No matter which part of the body that the cancer is spreading to, common symptoms include fatigue and weight loss, as well as a reduced appetite.
How Metastatic Breast Cancer Works
The first thing that will happen with a cancer cell that is undergoing metastatic cascade is growth and division of the cells within the main tumor, and spreading to the border of it, as well to the tissue around the tumor. Next, the cancer will enter the bloodstream or the lymph channels through intravasation of the circulatory system. From that point the cancer will have to transit in new environments and survive so he can than continue colonization. With Angiogenesis the metastatic cancer cells stimulate the growth of new blood vessels so they can feed the new forming cancer so they can invade other parts of the body, wreaking havoc on the systems. Eventually, the systems that are affected will begin to shut down and the patient will experience severe systems associated with that part of the body.
How your metastatic cancer is treated depends upon your case. Much of the time, the treatment is intended to take care of symptoms of the disease when no more can be done to stop the progression or remove the cancer cells. Depending upon how advanced the cancer is, some treatments that are intended for the entire system, like hormone therapy and chemo, can help to slow the spread of the cancer. However, this is often just a short term solution to a long term problem. The best defense against this type of cancer is catching it early and making sure that it does not advance to the last stages and spread to vital areas of the body where it cannot be treated.