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Cancer » Burst Cancer

Can You Survive Metastatic Breast Cancer?

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By the time breast cancer reaches its fourth stage, the cancerous cells have spread to other body organs via the lymphatic circulation and bloodstream.

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Any hope of curing the ailment is considered a miracle and elongating life’s quality with least hassle to the patient becomes the sole objective.

But, you may find yourself asking this question, is it possible to live with stage 4 breast cancer? What about the philosophy of ‘early detection equals cure’? If primary breast cancer is diagnosed early and treated effectively, is MBC(Metastatic Breast Cancer) even an issue?

Early Detection Equals Cure? Not Exactly

The average five and ten-year survival rates for breast cancer affected people is 90% and 83% respectively. And that’s when metastasis hasn’t developed. In cases of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, the five-year survival rate drops to 22%, as per the American Cancer Society.

Of course, getting diagnosed at an early point is better for the patient. You can see how the modern advancements in cancer treatment allow the doctors to throw everything- chemotherapy, radiotherapy, mastectomy, regular medication therapy, clinical trials- in an attempt to treat the disease. And they succeed in a good number of cases too.

But, metastatic recurrence can still occur as late as twenty years after the first diagnosis. And with MBC, the treatment philosophy changes. The medical care team is more focused on therapies that are minimally invasive but effective in keeping cancer at bay. Stabilising cancer becomes their aim because curing metastasis seems quite impossible.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Means Immediate Death? Not Exactly Either

It’s indeed difficult to believe that you can stay alive in a relatively healthy condition when you have been informed not only of having cancer but of having it in more than one organs due to mobile cancerous cells.

But, death does not follow stage 4 breast cancer at its heels, all because of modern advancements in the field.  However, you see, one or the other form of treatment becomes a part of regular life for those with metastasis.

Doctors will constantly try to shrink the tumor, cut off its supplies, and ease the subsequent complications. Hormone therapy, Anti-HER2 targeted therapy, and such other clinical trials will take center stage, pushing chemo, radio, and surgery to second fiddle.

With metastasis, the cycle of stability-progression-stability repeats itself. A new therapy is put forward, and the patient may respond well to it at first. Cancer becomes stable. So does life. Then, the treatment stops working, and the doctors move to another method, another plan.

Curing Metastatic Cancer Isn't Possible yet, but Living with It Sure Is

It 's hard to predict how a stage 4 cancer will react to the attempts to calm it down. Patients have lived longer lives, ten-twenty years long, with metastatic breast cancer and died of old age instead of dying because of their illness.

However, there are cases where the disease is aggressive, to begin with, and just rushes past all therapies with no positive outcome at all. With new targeted therapies being developed all around the world, focusing on every case of metastatic breast cancer instead of using the one-size-for-all approach, hopes are high or those who are about to indulge in a long fight with this disease.

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