What is Metastatic Breast Cancer?
When healthy cells change and grow out of control, creating a mass or sheet of cells called a tumor, this process is known as Cancer. A cancerous tumor is malignant, referring to the fact that it can grow and out spread to other parts of the body.
When Breast cancer spreads to other surrounding organs or parts from where it has begun, doctors say that cancer has “metastasized.” The disease is called metastatic breast cancer.
There are different types of treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer, such as:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Targeted therapy
In Sentinel lymph node biopsy, healthcare professionals remove the sentinel lymph node during surgery. The sentinel lymph node is the first in a group of lymph nodes to receive lymphatic drainage from the primary tumor. The first lymph node cancer will likely spread from the primary tumor. A radioactive substance and blue dye are injected near the tumor.
Types of Surgery:
- Breast-conserving surgery
- Total Mastectomy
- Modified radical mastectomy
In radiation therapy, cancer treatment healthcare professionals use high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancerous cells or keep them from multiplying.
Healthcare professionals give radiation therapy depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. One uses external radiation therapy to treat breast cancer. Internal radiation therapy with strontium-89 (a radionuclide) is used to relieve bone pain caused by breast cancer that has out spread to the bones.
In chemotherapy, use of drugs is recommended to stop the growth of cancer causing cells, either by killing the cells or keeping them from multiplying. When chemotherapy drugs are administered via mouth or intravenously or intramuscularly, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancerous cells entire human body. Some of the chemotherapy drugs are Capecitabine (Xeloda), Cisplatin (Platinol), Paclitaxel (Taxol), and many more.
In hormone therapy removal of hormones or blocking of their action and stopping cancer cells from growing takes place.
Healthcare professionals recommend hormone therapy with tamoxifen for early breast cancer that can be removed by surgery and those with metastatic breast cancer.
The hormone therapy with an aromatase inhibitor is given to postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.
Some of the hormonal therapy drugs are Anastrozole (Arimidex), Exemestane (Aromasin), Tamoxifen (Nolvadex), etc.
The targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to identify and attack specific cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors, and PARP inhibitors are targeted therapies used in treating breast cancer. Some targeted therapy drugs are Trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu), Pertuzumab, Ado-trastuzumab emtansine, sacituzumab govitecan (Trodelvy), Lapatinib, Palbociclib, Everolimus, Olaparib, etc.
In Immunotherapy physicians use the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or in a laboratory are used by healthcare professionals to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses from cancer. PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitor treatment: PD-1 is a protein on the surface of T cells which helps keep the body’s immune responses in check. Some immunotherapy drugs are Pembrolizumab (Keytruda), Atezolizumab (Tecentriq), etc.
Providers classify metastatic breast cancer as stage 4 breast cancer. This happens when cancer cells, often left behind after previous breast cancer treatment, start spreading to other body parts. Metastatic breast cancer is non curable, but treatment can add years to your life and help you feel better.