Bone metastases are common in people who've had cancer, especially that of the breast, lung, or prostate. They occur when cells from the original tumor break off and take up residence in the bone. Metastases are very painful and are different from tumors that originate in the bone.
Metastatic breast cancer also called stage IV or advanced breast cancer is not a specific type of breast cancer. It's the most advanced stage of breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other organs in the body most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain.
This fact sheet is for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer that has been found in the bones. This information is a general guide. You should speak to your doctor for detailed information about your specific situation.
Metastatic breast cancer also called stage IV is breast cancer that has spread to another part of the body, most commonly the liver, brain, bones, or lungs. Cancer cells can break away from the original tumor in the breast and travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system, which is a large network of nodes and vessels that works to remove bacteria, viruses, and cellular waste products. Breast cancer can come back in another part of the body months or years after the original diagnosis and treatment. A metastatic tumor in a different part of the body is made up of cells from the breast cancer.
Metastatic breast canceralso referred to as metastasesadvanced breast cancer, secondary tumors, secondaries or stage IV breast cancer, is a stage of breast cancer where the breast cancer cells have spread to distant sites beyond the axillary lymph nodes. There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer; it often can be effectively treated. There is no stage after IV.
The bones are the most common place where metastatic breast cancer cells tend to go. For more than half of women who develop stage IV breast cancer, the bones are the first site of metastasis. Although breast cancer can spread to any bone, the most common sites are the ribs, spine, pelvis, and long bones in the arms and legs.
Metastasis is a complex process in which malignant cancer cells from the breast spread into other regions of the body. Once metastasis has occurred, it is much more difficult to effectively treat breast cancer. Sometimes metastasis has occurred at the time the original breast cancer is diagnosed.
Doctors may also refer to metastatic breast cancer as advanced breast cancer or stage 4 breast cancer. Many people live for months or years after a healthcare professional has diagnosed metastatic breast cancer. Treatment can help a person live longer and slow down the progression of the cancer.
Skip to Content. Use the menu to see other pages. If metastatic breast cancer develops, it may or may not cause symptoms.
Disclosures of potential conflicts of interest may be found at the end of this article. Pain was more common in patients with lytic compared with blastic or sclerotic metastases odds ratio [OR], 1. Poorer overall survival OS was also noted in patients with multiple bone metastases median OS, 4. Overall, several risk features for decreased OS were identified, including multiple bone metastases and both axial and appendicular skeleton involvement.