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Types & Stages

 
Types & Stages

Chapter: 5 - Types & Stages

Subchapter: 5 - Stage 4

Stage 4 is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, because it has spread to other organs of the body; most often the bones, lungs, liver, or brain. This is known as “metastatic cancer”.

If you have been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, the strenuous cycles of treatment can be exhausting. You will need to make careful decisions and plans regarding your condition, but there is no reason to give up on life and relationships. Many women with Stage 4 cancer discover strength of character and qualities of resilience they never knew they had before.

Remember to rely on your supportive group of family and friends. With their care and support, as well as your personal motivation, you will be able invest wholeheartedly in the options at hand, making the most of life for you and your loved ones.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    My recently diagnosed 40yr old sister-in-law doesn't want my help. We live 30 miles away and only see her a few times a year. Her church and neighbors are supportive. Any suggestions on how to be there for her?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      How to help? One thing about breast cancer is that it can be a long process between surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I know when I was going through treatment, I didn't want help either and I didn't want people hovering over me because I was determined not to be a patient. However people...

      more

      How to help? One thing about breast cancer is that it can be a long process between surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I know when I was going through treatment, I didn't want help either and I didn't want people hovering over me because I was determined not to be a patient. However people comforted me in many ways. My sisters who lived out of town, checked in with me weekly by phone or email, they sent care packages during the weeks I had chemotherapy with books, warm fuzzy socks, and sometimes sent flowers. My friends were determined to cook for me, but I was dreading being bombarded with visitors when I felt miserable. So I placed a cooler outside my door and they all took turns delivering food for my family when I could not function. One place I looked forward to having visitors was the chemotherapy room because I needed to sit there for a few hours and I was usually feeling quite well on those days. Some friends and family also drove me to radiation as it was an hours drive away. And then there were cards and notes in the mail that to this day I still read as I look back on how people helped me when I never wanted help, but that is what got me through the most difficult time in my life. I am thankful that so many people found a way to care. My thoughts are with you and your sister- in-law and I know you will find your own way to help her. Take care!

      Comment
    • Jennifer Jackson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I agree with all of the above. Never underestimate the power of prayer. I recently experienced a very bad cancer scare, and felt comforted through the prayers of others.

      Comment
  • Susie Wilson Profile

    Stage IIB IDC. Triple negative. First chemo tomorrow. Terrified about side effects. What are the most common side effects?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    almost 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Susie, I remember when I first began chemo. It's very scaring not knowing what to expect. My first go around with chemo I had 4 rounds of Adriamycin/Cytoxin followed by 4 rounds of dose dense Taxol. My main side effects during my first 4 rounds of Adriamycin/Cytoxin cocktail were nausea and...

      more

      Hi Susie, I remember when I first began chemo. It's very scaring not knowing what to expect. My first go around with chemo I had 4 rounds of Adriamycin/Cytoxin followed by 4 rounds of dose dense Taxol. My main side effects during my first 4 rounds of Adriamycin/Cytoxin cocktail were nausea and fatigue. They will give you something in your IV drip for nausea plus a prescription as well (usually its Zofran). Be sure to take it as directed BEFORE you get nauseous. My nausea was never bad enough to make my throw up. The meds are great...use them! My hair began to fall out on day 14 after my first chemo treatment. I decided to be proactive and had my boyfriend give me a buzz cut. My hair was very long and I didn't want to see it fall out in clumps. It was easier on me that way. And I must say...the fear and dread of losing my hair was harder than actually losing it. I need to do a new profile pic because I have about 2 inches of hair now. :).  It began growing back near my last treatment. Unfortunately I had to begin chemo again after my mastectomy but it's with 2 different drugs and I haven't lost what little hair I have this time.  :). During my last four rounds of Taxol my side effects were fatigue, changes in my nails, losing my eyelashes, eyebrows, etc., & some bone pain. I have had some neuropathy in my feet & hands but it was mild.  Taxol was easier for me.  You will probably be getting a shot of Neulasta periodically to boost you white blood count. This might give you some bone pain mostly in the upper body. If you'll take a Claritin a few hours before your Neaulasta shot and for a few days after...it will help decrease the pain. Don't ask me how it works...but it does! I have spoken to so many other omen that have sworn by it. About the only side effect that can't be controlled is the fatigue. Be kind to your body. Get lots of rest. Let others help you. Chemo isn't easy...but it's doable. If you can get in the mindset that chemo is not something that's being done to you...but think of it as an ally in your fight against cancer it will be easier to deal with. I'll keep you in my thoughts & prayers! Keep the faith & God bless you in your journey to wellness. 

      2 comments
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I forgot to mention the # 1 side effect- hair loss. I lost all of my hair- head, legs, underarm first then eyebrows and eyelashes later on. It's been just about 6 months since I first started treatments, and 2 months since I ended and my hair is finally starting to grow back! I must check 10X a...

      more

      I forgot to mention the # 1 side effect- hair loss. I lost all of my hair- head, legs, underarm first then eyebrows and eyelashes later on. It's been just about 6 months since I first started treatments, and 2 months since I ended and my hair is finally starting to grow back! I must check 10X a day to see if it's getting any longer! I'm glad I have hair again - although just a little bit! I was so sad when my hair came out, but you get through it and carry on!

      Comment
  • Laura R Profile

    My mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time. This time it's stage IV and untreatable and they gave her a year to live. What should I expect for death? Slowly in a hospital bed or dying in her sleep?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 5 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Karen G Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I was just diagnosed Stage 4 this year it spread to liver and lymph nodes. My friend had it in the liver 5 years ago and is still going strong. I definitely recommend getting another Doctors opinion. Also find out if the mets are ER PR and the Her2 status. There are different treatment...

      more

      I was just diagnosed Stage 4 this year it spread to liver and lymph nodes. My friend had it in the liver 5 years ago and is still going strong. I definitely recommend getting another Doctors opinion. Also find out if the mets are ER PR and the Her2 status. There are different treatment options out there.

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Doctors Do not know when people are going to die I'm in stage iv 4also I'm still here 6years later

      1 comment
  • D D Profile

    What can I expect from a surgery biopsy and how soon are the results shared? A lump on breast is about 3.5 cm was aspirated and resulted in a bloody liquid and revealed another behind it. (3cm with hardened walls and atypical cells...I'm scared)

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 3 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi DD, yes it's very scary waiting. It usually takes at least two days (sometimes longer) to get the biopsy results in. While you're waiting ...know that 80% of biopsies are negative. I pray you're in that 80%. Hugs

      Comment
    • Lysa Allison Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was scared too so I know how you feel. Try not to worry until you know for sure what is going on. Remember God loves you and will help you through if you just ask.

      Comment

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