Find out about advanced breast cancer and how it might affect you.
Advanced breast cancer means that a cancer that began in the breast has spread to another part of the body, such as the liver or bones. Advanced cancer can also be called secondary cancer.
Unfortunately advanced cancer can’t usually be cured. But treatment can control it, relieve symptoms, and give you a good quality of life for a while.
Sometimes cancer is advanced when it is first diagnosed. But sometimes the cancer has come back and spread after treatment for the original cancer.
Cancers that have spread to another part of the body are called:
- secondary cancer
- metastatic cancer
Where breast cancer spreads
Breast cancer can spread to the:
- lymph nodes
Locally advanced cancer
Locally advanced cancer means that the cancer has spread into the tissues around the breast. It hasn’t spread to other organs. This is different to an advanced cancer.
How you might feel
Finding out that you have an advanced cancer can be a shock. It’s common to feel uncertain and anxious and it’s normal to not be able to think about anything else.
Lots of information and support is available to you and your family and friends. It can help to find out more about your cancer and the treatments you might have. Many people find that knowing more about their situation can make it easier to cope.
Talk to your specialist to understand:
- what your diagnosis means
- what is likely to happen
- what treatment is available
- how treatment can help you
Many people want to know what the outlook is and how their cancer will develop. This is different for each person. Your cancer specialist doctor has all the information about you and your cancer. They're the best person to discuss this with.
You can also talk to your specialist nurse.