The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer can vary based on the extent and location of the cancer. For instance, cancer that spreads to the lungs may cause respiratory symptoms, while cancer that spreads to the brain can cause neurological complications.
The most common symptoms of metastatic breast cancer (based on the location of the secondary tumors) include:
- Cancer that has spread to the bones: recurrent fractures, bone pain and constipation
- Cancer that has spread to the liver: nausea, yellowing of the skin, fatigue and abdominal swelling
- Cancer that has spread to the lungs: coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
- Cancer that has spread to the brain: confusion, memory loss, recurrent headaches, blurred or double vision, seizures and loss of fine motor control
Additionally, individuals with metastatic breast cancer can also experience localized symptoms that result from the primary tumor. These include breast pain, nipple discharge, a lump in the breast or a change in the appearance of the skin on the chest.
Even though these symptoms can be caused by conditions other than breast cancer, it’s still important to have them evaluated by a medical professional – especially for people who are genetically predisposed to breast cancer or who have one or more known risk factors. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer a variety of advanced diagnostic services for individuals who are experiencing breast cancer symptoms. These services include CT scans, PET scans, blood marker tests, biopsies and whole-body bone scans. For individuals who are diagnosed with breast cancer – be it early-stage or metastatic – our team can provide a comprehensive treatment plan that incorporates the newest and most effective options.
If you’d like to discuss your symptoms with an oncologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating breast cancer, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online to request an appointment at Moffitt. No referral is required.