What is Metastatic Breast Cancer?

MBC (also called stage IV or advanced breast cancer) is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body (most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain). Both women and men can be diagnosed with MBC.

How is Metastatic Breast Cancer Found?

The three main tests for MBC are:

  • A blood test to check for spread to the liver or bones
  • Bone scans to test for spread to the bone
  • X-ray/CT scans to test for spread to the chest, abdomen and liver

As hard as it is to hear, metastatic breast cancer cannot be cured. Unlike breast cancer that remains in the breast or nearby lymph nodes, you cannot get rid of all the cancer that has spread to other organs. This does not mean, however, that metastatic breast cancer cannot be treated.

How is Metastatic Breast Cancer Treated?

Treatment of metastatic breast cancer focuses on length and quality of life. Your treatment plan is guided by many factors, including:

  • Characteristics of the cancer cells
  • Where the cancer has spread
  • Your symptoms
  • Past breast cancer treatments

For more information, visit Komen National’s website:
http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/MetastaticBreastCancerIntroduction.html