Breast cancer is perhaps one of the most common and feared cancer types. When the disease is diagnosed stage 4 breast cancer at detection, it can be a very difficult standpoint. Many therapies may be available but it will still be very hard if the cancer is already at the metastatic stage.
Many people can seem at a loss when faced with the different stage 4 breast cancer treatments. Secondary breast cancer, also called metastatic breast cancer, occurs when the disease spreads from the breast to elsewhere in the body. Some patients will have their first diagnosis of breast cancer only to discover that it has spread and is, in fact, metastatic breast cancer. Hence, it is best to detect cancer at the early stages for this treatment to be most effective.
What Does Metastatic Mean?
The word, metastatic, portrays a form of cancer that has extended to distant organs from the original tumor location. It is the most advanced stage (stage IV) of breast cancer. Cancer cells have extended past the breast and axillary (underarm) lymph nodes to other parts of the body where they continue growing and multiplying. It has the ability to extend to nearly any area of the body. The most frequent area the disease extends to is the bone, and then the lungs and liver. Treatment of metastatic breast cancer in general concentrates on alleviating symptoms and lengthening a woman’s lifetime. Fortunately, with the array of stage 4 breast cancer treatments available, life expectancy is improving slowly but steadily. Combination treatment with surgery, radiation, multiple medications and better supportive care have made positive contributions.
Radiation to Kill Cancer Cells
The use of radiation is one of the more popular stage 4 breast cancer treatments. Radiation therapy causes the uncontrollable division of cancer cells stop. There are two methods to deliver this treatment, either an internal or external radiation source. External radiation therapy in cancer makes use of a radiation source that does not come in contact with a person’s body. On the other hand, the internal radiation type of treatment for cancer makes use of a radiation implant that is inside a person’s body and creates its effects internally.
Chemotherapy Against Cancer
Chemotherapy is the use of special medications that have properties to fight cancer. These medications act differently but all of them aim to stop the cancer cells from spreading. This can lead to an end or merely a break in the cancer cycle. While there are many side effects associated with chemotherapy, it is, however, one of the most preferred stage 4 breast cancer treatments. It is also effective for dealing with other cancer states in late stages.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of Chemotherapy on Stage 4 Breast Cancer?
Stage 4 breast cancer happens when the offending cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body where they would not normally be present. Cancer discovered at this stage will immediately have a negative prognosis. Prevention of breast cancer must be as early as possible so that the prognosis will be better. If detected early on, breast cancer (and any other type of cancer for that matter) has a very high cure rate.
This gives us the responsibility to learn about the ways to detect breast cancer as early as possible.
Breast Self Exam
This is one of the most effective ways to detect and prevent breast cancer. It is easy to do and does not take too much time. You can do it while taking a shower or before you go to sleep. The breast self-examination or BSE is a simple but effective way to detect breast cancer before it progresses. You may even find it amusing that many women discover that they have breast cancer only after a partner has felt a lump. It is always a good practice to self-check regularly to ensure that you do not have the early symptoms of cancer of the breast. Do not wait until you reach stage 4 breast cancer before doing anything.
Breast Exam by Health Personnel
In a regular checkup, your health care provider could also perform the breast examination with your consent. This can be a good way to detect cancer even before it progress and wreaks havoc on the body. Living in a state of overall health allows people to take advantage of stage 4 breast cancer treatments that are more aggressive. This involves a lifetime of preventing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and damage to the liver and kidneys.
The Mammogram Test
This test is recommended especially for women 50 and up, and is a good way to prevent cancer from going to stage 4 breast cancer. It is very helpful in trying to prevent many cancers from starting. Women are the majority of breast cancer sufferers despite the fact that it can happen to men too. One of the main reasons is that during menopause, women have decreased estrogen which usually protects them against cancers.
Featured Image Source: Thinkstock/Tagore75
Sourced from: livestrong.com