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Types & Stages

 
Types & Stages

Chapter: 5 - Types & Stages

Subchapter: 5 - Stage 4

Stage 4 is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, because it has spread to other organs of the body; most often the bones, lungs, liver, or brain. This is known as “metastatic cancer”.

If you have been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, the strenuous cycles of treatment can be exhausting. You will need to make careful decisions and plans regarding your condition, but there is no reason to give up on life and relationships. Many women with Stage 4 cancer discover strength of character and qualities of resilience they never knew they had before.

Remember to rely on your supportive group of family and friends. With their care and support, as well as your personal motivation, you will be able invest wholeheartedly in the options at hand, making the most of life for you and your loved ones.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    My recently diagnosed 40yr old sister-in-law doesn't want my help. We live 30 miles away and only see her a few times a year. Her church and neighbors are supportive. Any suggestions on how to be there for her?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      How to help? One thing about breast cancer is that it can be a long process between surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I know when I was going through treatment, I didn't want help either and I didn't want people hovering over me because I was determined not to be a patient. However people...

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      How to help? One thing about breast cancer is that it can be a long process between surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I know when I was going through treatment, I didn't want help either and I didn't want people hovering over me because I was determined not to be a patient. However people comforted me in many ways. My sisters who lived out of town, checked in with me weekly by phone or email, they sent care packages during the weeks I had chemotherapy with books, warm fuzzy socks, and sometimes sent flowers. My friends were determined to cook for me, but I was dreading being bombarded with visitors when I felt miserable. So I placed a cooler outside my door and they all took turns delivering food for my family when I could not function. One place I looked forward to having visitors was the chemotherapy room because I needed to sit there for a few hours and I was usually feeling quite well on those days. Some friends and family also drove me to radiation as it was an hours drive away. And then there were cards and notes in the mail that to this day I still read as I look back on how people helped me when I never wanted help, but that is what got me through the most difficult time in my life. I am thankful that so many people found a way to care. My thoughts are with you and your sister- in-law and I know you will find your own way to help her. Take care!

      Comment
    • Jennifer Jackson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I agree with all of the above. Never underestimate the power of prayer. I recently experienced a very bad cancer scare, and felt comforted through the prayers of others.

      Comment
  • Valerie Rotella Profile

    My grandmother and sister had breast cancer. What kind of cancer is hereditary?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 1 answer
    • Janelle Strunk Profile
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      Before you decide that cancer runs in your family, first gather some information. For each case of cancer, look at:

      Who is affected? How are we related?
      What type of cancer is it? Is it rare?
      How old was this relative when they were diagnosed?
      Did this person get more than one...

      more

      Before you decide that cancer runs in your family, first gather some information. For each case of cancer, look at:

      Who is affected? How are we related?
      What type of cancer is it? Is it rare?
      How old was this relative when they were diagnosed?
      Did this person get more than one type of cancer?
      Did they smoke?

      Cancer in a close relative, like a parent or sibling (brother or sister), is more cause for concern than cancer in a more distant relative. Even if the cancer was from a gene mutation, the chance of it passing on to you gets lower with more distant relatives.

      Breast cancer is a cancer that can be hereditary. A family history of breast cancer does put you at increased risk for breast cancer. A woman who has a first-degree relative (such as a mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer is about twice as likely to develop breast cancer as a woman without a family history of this cancer. Still, most cases of breast cancer, even those in close relatives, are not part of a family cancer syndrome caused by an inherited gene mutation.

      The chance that someone has an inherited form of breast cancer is higher the younger they are when they get the cancer and the more relatives they have with the disease. Inherited breast cancer can be caused by several different genes, but the most common are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Inherited mutations in these genes cause hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC). Along with breast and ovarian cancer, this syndrome can also lead to male breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, as well as some others. This syndrome is more common in women of Ashkenazi descent than it is in the general U.S. population.

      This is why it is so important for you to have an early detection plan. You can creaste a plan at www.earlydetectionplan.org. This plan takes into account your risk profile and age. Of course, if you notice any changes in your breasts, you should consult your physician.

      1 comment
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  • Christina Archambault Profile

    26 year old her 1 positive stage 2b 3 nosds pos. I get my last chemo April 19th ! I have been really strong for the most part threw this chemo! I find I am getting scared for my future as the chemo is coming to an end .. Did u worrie bout your future ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    almost 8 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I have heard this many, many, times! People have a sense of loss when they are coming to the end of their chemotherapy. You feel protected and cared for during your treatment and all of a sudden, it is over. So for everyone who has this feeling, it is oh so common. You are like a fledgling...

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      I have heard this many, many, times! People have a sense of loss when they are coming to the end of their chemotherapy. You feel protected and cared for during your treatment and all of a sudden, it is over. So for everyone who has this feeling, it is oh so common. You are like a fledgling getting pushed out into the world to fly on your own. I on the other hand, counted the days until I was done and although I liked everybody, I was thrilled to get back to my life, my horses, and my HAIR! I think this feeling of a little bit of loss, and this safe caccoon, is something that will fade as you transition to another part of your treatment or back to your regular life. My congratulations for being done with your chemo..... YAHOOO!!! You will continue to be strong but you are saying good bye to this part of your treatment. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I'll be finished May 8th with chemo and I too feel apprehensive. Chemo has really tired me out and the affects of it are becoming more but still there's the comforting thought that chemo is fighting the cancer. I keep thinking that I must take one day at a time. There are still more procedures to...

      more

      I'll be finished May 8th with chemo and I too feel apprehensive. Chemo has really tired me out and the affects of it are becoming more but still there's the comforting thought that chemo is fighting the cancer. I keep thinking that I must take one day at a time. There are still more procedures to go through to be cancer free.

      1 comment

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An Early Detection Plan (EDP) significantly increases the chances of surviving breast cancer.

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