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School of Medicine
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread to other organs in the body, also classified as stage IV breast cancer.
What is the treatment for metastatic breast cancer?
Treatments include many of the same treatments as other stages of breast cancer:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy (with or without small molecule inhibitors) – For patients diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer that is hormone receptor positive, hormonal therapy may be the first line of defense against the disease. As long as the drugs are keeping the cancer from progressing, the patient may be kept on the medication for some time. If scans show the progression of the cancer, the medical oncologist may switch to another form of hormonal therapy or possibly stop this therapy and pursue a different line of systemic treatment, such as chemotherapy or biologic targeted therapy.
- Biologic targeted therapy
- Breast surgery – It is controversial whether surgery should be done on the breast in the presence of known metastatic disease. In most cases, however, the knowledge of metastasis is discovered after the breast cancer surgery and other treatment has been performed. The cancer returns as a distant recurrence.
What is the prognosis for metastatic breast cancer?
While there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer, there are treatment options available that can extend a patient’s life, while maintaining quality of life. There are also clinical trials available that offer hope.