Breast Cancer Review

Advanced Breast Cancer

A woman recently diagnosed with breast cancer will feel shocked and frightened. All she needs to learn about her disease is difficult to absorb when she feels such a mix of emotions. There is, however, a large amount of recent scientific information that is essential for the woman to seek out, in order to make difficult and intelligent medical decisions about her treatment.

Since this article is written mostly for women, there is something related to the truths about breast cancer that should be pointed out, by way of example: in normal and everyday life, women think “advanced breast cancer” means something very different from the medical community’s use of the term. In medical terminology, an advanced breast cancer is in the Stage IV category, where the tumor has spread to a distant part of the body from the affected breast and is the most serious type of breast cancer. To most women, “advanced breast cancer” means all types of breast cancer, except the kind that is totally and completely confined (and tiny too!) in the breast. This is just one example of the many misconceptions that women may hold about breast cancer.

So, as soon as she is able, the woman needs to put feelings aside and learn everything she can about the stage of her cancer (its size, location, lymph node involvement; possible metastasis); what the detailed report about her biopsy said; if additional tests were run on the tissue; if she should get a second opinion; whether surgery will be necessary; will radiation be recommended; what about chemotherapy or hormone therapy? This is a short list of information the patient will need to secure – and all when she is very emotionally challenged.

The true understanding of the whole picture of the woman’s breast cancer will influence the decisions she will make for her best initial treatment. This is very important, as it may influence whether the woman ever develops true advanced breast cancer later on down the road. To reiterate, advanced breast cancer (Stage IV) is a tumor found in a part of the body that is distant from the breast. It is the most serious breast cancer and is also called metastatic breast cancer.

Advanced breast cancer may be found upon the first diagnosis of breast cancer, but that happens infrequently. It usually occurs after the initial treatment of breast cancer is done, maybe two or more years later. With this recurrence, the woman again needs to gather as much information as she can about her treatment options. Once the doctors and the woman have agreed on a treatment program, positive action of the treatment often brings submission of the cancer. The survival rate for advanced breast cancer is 16% after five years. Numerous research programs are constantly moving forward with new knowledge and treatment advances, improving every day.

Janet Brown is a medical writer and graduate of Loyola University New Orleans. Her personal experiences with breast cancer have drawn her to her current work developing breast cancer patient education and awareness materials. She currently lives in Georgia.

Breast Cancer Resources

American Cancer Society

People Living With Cancer

United States National Library of Medicine

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Health Coverage from Health Insurance .org

WebMD Health

Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

National Cancer Institute

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Y-ME National Breast Cancer Foundation

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Women’s Information Network Against Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Cancer News On the Net

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition

Mothers Supporting Daughters With Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Online

National Breast Cancer Coalition

Breast Cancer Fund

Breast Cancer Action

Breast Cancer Care

Breast Cancer Campaign

Cancer BACUP

Canadian Breast Cancer Network

Breast Cancer Society of Canada

Breast Cancer Action – Ottawa

Info Breast Cancer

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

National Breast Cancer Centre

National Breast Cancer Foundation

New South Wales Breast Cancer Institute

Early Warning Signs
Breast Tumor Information
Self-Exams & Diagnosis
Stage 3 Breast Cancer
Stage 4 Breast Cancer
Advanced Breast Cancer

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