Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage of breast cancer—stage 4—and occurs when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, brain and/or bones. Most commonly, metastatic breast cancer develops after treatment for early-stage breast cancer, as microscopic tumor cells can remain in the body and metastasize even after the original tumor has been removed.
Metastatic breast cancer symptoms can vary based on where in the body the cancer has spread:
- Lungs – Dry cough, hoarse voice and difficulty breathing
- Liver – Jaundice, pain or swelling in the belly, change in bowel habits, loss of appetite and itchy skin or rash
- Brain – Blurred vision, dizziness, headaches, loss of balance, frequent nausea or vomiting, confusion and memory problems
- Bones – Swelling, bone fractures and back, neck, bone or joint pain
Other common symptoms of metastatic breast cancer include fatigue, unexplained weight loss and difficulty urinating. Individuals experiencing these symptoms for two weeks or longer should speak with a doctor. While these symptoms may be related to side effects of treatment or another condition, a doctor can perform a series of tests to determine the cause.
Consult with a specialist at Moffitt Cancer Center
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our multispecialty team in the Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program includes fellowship-trained surgeons, medical oncologists, breast reconstruction experts, fertility preservation specialists and many other professionals, all of whom specialize in breast cancer treatment. These specialists collaborate to deliver highly individualized care and cutting-edge breast cancer therapies to each patient.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of metastatic breast cancer and would like to consult with a breast cancer specialist at Moffitt Cancer Center, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.