In breast cancer, there’re 4 main stages of the condition which stand for 4 particular expressions of the tumors in each level. Stage 4 breast cancer is defined as having spread beyond the breast tissue into other parts of the body. Medical terminology for this stage is known as “Metastatic” cancer.
If the doctor gives you a prognosis that you are in stage 4 of breast cancer, your lungs, lymph nodes, liver, or even the brain probably are invaded by malignant tumors. Although metastatic breast cancer has no way to cure, but there’s a slightly chance of being treated. Proper treatment might help your longevity as well as your life quality.
Stage 4 survival rates
Survival rates is a ratio of people of the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a definite amount of time, usually approximately 5 years after they were diagnosed. Sometimes survival rates are useful for the doctor to give a prognosis. Some women with breast cancer might want to know the survival statistics for people in similar situations, while others might not find the numbers helpful, or might even not want to know them.
Each person’s prognosis is significant. The statistics can not predict your future condition or your longevity. In fact, your metastatic cancer can be affected by:
- Your age;
- Your general health;
- Hormone receptors on cells with cancer;
- The types of tissue that cancer has affected;
- Your attitude and outlook.
According to clinical studies and research, there is few fact that might help to know about the prognosis.
- Lung cancer trigger more deaths in women than any other type of cancer. Breast cancer is right after it.
- Women in developed nations groups have more chance of surviving than the ones in lower nations groups.
- Now more breast cancer patients live longer than they used to in the past. Over the last ten years, the number of mortality from breast cancer has dropped rapidly.
Why should you do the medical check-up and physical examination time to time?
The clinical symptoms of breast cancer are extremely diverse when typical symptoms are usually at the end of the condition. Symptoms include:
- Breast tumors (about 90% of cases of breast cancer patients)
- Nipple changes including nipple discharge (about 20% of breast cancer patients)
- The tip of the nipple is crooked or plunged into the armpits and lymph nodes.
To diagnose breast cancer in the case of palpable tumors is usually simple, it is the use of tumor biopsy. However, the diagnosis of a tumor is malignant and is at a late stage. Generic cancers and breast cancer, in particular, are the most important determinants of the success of treatment and the prolongation of life expectancy in patients with early diagnosis when the cancer is not present in the clinic. The purpose of breast cancer screening is early detection of breast cancer before it is clinically apparent as a palpable or variable lesion on the skin.
There are some tests that you should pay attention on:
- Mammography. The mammogram can help detect small tumors in the breast, which can be seen by microscopic movements in the mammary gland that other techniques are difficult to detect. Besides, X-rays used in mammography are hardly harmful.
- Ultrasound. This is a safe, simple, inexpensive, quick and painless breast exam so it can be used for all ages and can be taken at any time, not affected by period; even during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Breast-MRI. This is a non-invasive technique that does not involve X-ray radiation. MRI can detect minor injuries that other techniques (mammography, ultrasound, etc.) do not detect. MRI is especially good for young patients with dense breast tissue and for patients with breast implants.
- Blood tests.
Treatments for stage 4
Because the cancer is spreading to many parts of the body at the end of the disease, treatment often involves a combination of new and effective treatments. Nevertheless, positive treatment, 20% chance of survival over 5 years. The treatments are usually
- Chemotherapy. It is often the main treatment for this stage. It can slow down the growth of cancer. It’s often used in combination with hormone therapy. You may be given chemotherapy in several ways like take pills, intravenously, liquids.
- Radiation therapy and surgery. These treatments may help treat pain and other symptoms in areas where cancer has spread.
- Hormonal therapy. It can be helpful for women with hormone receptor-positive cancers. That means cancer needs hormones to grow. In these women, medications can prevent the tumor from getting the hormone. These drugs include tamoxifen for all women and anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), and letrozole (Femara) for postmenopausal women. Letrozole is sometimes taken with palbociclib, which slows cancer cell growth.
At this stage, the primary goal of treatment is to shrink the tumor, slow the progression of the disease, improve the symptoms caused by the disease, and help the patient live longer. If treated aggressively, the ability to live more than 5 years in a terminal cancer patient is still more than 20%. Many patients with terminal breast cancer can live years after diagnosis.
The Earlier, The Better
The stage of your breast cancer when you’re diagnosed plays an important role in your prognosis. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), you have the best chance of survival in the five years post-diagnosis when breast cancer is diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage.
Remember that everyone is different, and your response to the treatment may not match someone else’s – even at stage 4. Talk to your doctor to learn more about the individual factors that may affect your prognosis.
Notice that numbers are just numbers. Lifestyle changes and optimistic outlook are the main factors that keep you always happy and may be lengthened your longevity.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: March 30, 2017 | Last Modified: March 30, 2017
Robin Madell, Metastatic Breast Cancer Life expectancy and Prognosis, http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/metastatic-prognosis#Overview1, Accessed February 19, 2017.
C. Richard Paterrson, Stage 4 Breast Cancer Life Expectancy, http://www.livestrong.com/article/69179-stage-breast-cancer-life-expectancy/. Accessed January 28, 2017.