Breast cancer. We hate it. Yet we write about it all the time, because we feel that knowledge is power. Speaking of what was treated as unspeakable in the past can save lives. It’s cancer - NOT Voldemort.
Stage IV breast cancer, also known as invasive breast cancer is the highest or worst possible stage for the disease. This is a breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and its lymph nodes to other tissues of the body. Stage 4 breast cancer can include spread to the liver, bones, brain… anywhere in the body. In terms of treatment and outlook, stage IV breast cancer presents special challenges. Treatment is personalized to the individual needs, breast cancer type and its response.
However, it is most important and encouraging to know that while the survival numbers for invasive breast cancers are not what we’d like them to be (our dream is a world without cancer deaths), there ARE survivors. Stage IV breast cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation has excellent resources for those who are looking for more information on metastatic breast cancer. Their recent Komen Perspective article is an update to their 2010 report on the subject. It presents the latest on research and advances in treatment. It even addresses the emotional and practical issues facing women with advanced disease. We highly recommend it for additional reading.
Image credit: lord-voldemort-hp7-chair by juliooliveiraa via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Originally published 2/21/14 on mammographykc.com.