What Is Metastatic Breast Cancer?

Metastatic breast cancer refers to any type of breast cancer that has spread outside of the breast it originated in. This condition is also referred to as stage 4 breast cancer.

Breast cancer typically spreads by invading healthy cells that surround the tumor. If the cancerous cells invade the lymph nodes, they can then travel throughout the lymphatic system to distant parts of the body. When breast cancer metastasizes, some of the tissues and organs most commonly affected include the:

  • Lungs
  • Liver
  • Bones
  • Brain

Our Approach

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a comprehensive approach to treating metastatic breast cancer. Every patient is provided with an individualized treatment plan that takes into account his or her specific diagnosis, medical history and personal preferences. Patients with stage 4 breast cancer typically receive different treatment plans than patients with earlier-stage malignancies, as metastatic cancer treatment is designed to target cells throughout the entire body rather than in only one particular part of a breast.

In Moffitt’s Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program, systemic treatments such as chemotherapy are most commonly used for treating metastatic breast cancer, although surgery is recommended in some instances as well. Additionally, patients who turn to Moffitt for metastatic breast cancer treatment may also qualify to participate in clinical trials, through which they can gain access to immunotherapies, hormone therapies and other advanced targeted treatments that aren’t yet available in other settings. We are committed to helping each patient achieve not only the best possible survival outcome, but also a high quality of life. Our breast cancer outcomes routinely exceed the national averages, even when including late-stage malignancies.

The multispecialty team at Moffitt can provide a more comprehensive explanation of what metastatic breast cancer is, as well as the treatment options for stage 4 breast cancer. To request an appointment with one of our experienced oncologists, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We welcome patients with and without physician referrals.