Intro to Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments

A majority of the cancer treatments and therapies nowadays are beneficial in the battle against various types of cancer. Long gone are the days when doctors were utterly powerless against cancer. Nonetheless, cancer remains difficult to cure.

Luckily the advancements in treatment strategies today, particularly metastatic breast cancer treatments, make these therapies more effective than ever before.

Breast cancer is perhaps one of the most common types of cancer. When a patient gets diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer (or metastatic breast cancer), it can be a tough standpoint.

There are still therapies available at this stage, but it is still challenging if the breast cancer is already metastatic when detected. Many people are at a loss when faced with different treatment options for stage 4 breast cancer. 

Here are some of the most common metastatic breast cancer treatments available.

Available Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments

Surgery and radiation therapy are the most effective metastatic breast cancer treatments when the tumor is localized to the breast, meaning it is much easier to remove. This type of treatment is also useful for small or benign tumors.

The latest metastatic breast cancer treatments include hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and biologic therapy. These treatments are used in advanced stages of cancer when the tumor spreads to other parts of the body outside of the breast. This is called metastatic breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Surgery

Breast cancer surgery focuses on removing the bulk of the cancerous tissue. More advanced surgical options have emerged in recent years, giving patients with metastatic breast cancer the opportunity to undergo reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy.

Breast cancer surgery can also be in the form of a breast or lymph node biopsy. In this case, lymph node biopsies offer a diagnosis to evaluate the disease. Recent metastatic breast cancer treatments can include surgical options like a prophylactic mastectomy or even removing the ovaries in certain cases.

Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells and prevents them from proliferating within the body, which helps prevent the spread of cancer. Radiation has also advanced significantly in recent years.

The latest metastatic breast cancer treatments include targeted radiation, which is more effective and prevents injury to the surrounding healthy cells. What’s more, practitioners can now deliver radiation in appropriate doses with fewer and less harsh side effects.


Chemotherapy is considered a systemic therapy by practitioners because it targets cancer cells in the whole body. New schedules of chemotherapy include adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy. These types of treatment can also be supplemented by a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, which are useful in cases where the immune system is severely depressed. 

Stem cell therapy is one of the latest treatments used for breast cancer. It involves providing patients with stem cells that have the potential to turn into any of the body’s cells and replicate at a fast pace to combat the cancer cells.

Targeted Biological Therapy

Targeted biologic therapies are another new treatment for breast cancer. Targeted biologic therapies disrupt cellular processes that contribute to the continued growth of cancer cells and include drugs like Herceptin, Tykerb, Avastin, and Iressa. 

Breast cancers are often dependent on estrogen for their growth, which is why anti-estrogen hormone therapy is used to starve tumor cells of the estrogen they need to grow, resulting in cancer cell death. This treatment is something practitioners can either administer before surgery, or concurrently with radiation.

Other Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments

Practitioners are adopting other newer techniques to increase the efficiency of cancer detection. One of these is a sentinel lymph node biopsy. In cases where surgery follows, the surgical procedure will treat or remove the infected lymph to save the rest of the body from the infection. High-dose chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant is one of the steps in this procedure.

The life risk of breast cancer is only about 10%; however, the important thing is to have a quality life rather than quantity. It’s essential for people to go for regular checkups to avoid or detect such diseases.

Hormone therapies are also effective and can include estrogen receptor blockers, aromatase inhibitors, oophorectomy, and chemical ovarian suppression.

Metastatic breast cancer treatments involve many approaches. The initial diagnosis and medical work done will guide the type of therapy that will work best for each patient. Criteria that will influence the type of cancer treatment a patient receives includes the cellular composition of the cancer, the stage of cancer you have, the size of the tumor, and your hormonal status.

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