Stage 4 breast cancer is the most severe form of breast cancer. The advanced stage of the pathology is diagnosed when a patient has metastases in distant internal organs or bones.
Characteristics of stage 4 breast cancer
Stage 4 breast cancer is a serious condition characterized by:
- Presence of a tumor in one breast or the development of a malignant neoplasm in both mammary glands
- Any, up to very large, tumor size
- Spread of the malignant process to lymph nodes, muscles, and bones
- Detection of metastases in distant internal organs
In 70% of cases, malignant breast tumors metastasize to the bones. Another common site of metastases localization is the lungs, brain, and liver.
Symptoms of stage 4 breast cancer
Common symptoms of advanced breast cancer include:
- Rapid weight loss
- Intoxication followed by nausea and vomiting
- Increased body temperature
- General fatigue
The prognosis for stage 4 breast cancer is less favorable than at the onset of the disease. However, oncologists fight for the lives of patients, managing to improve survival rates.
Stage 4 breast cancer and recurrent breast cancer are quite easy to detect. A large neoplasm, changes in the shape of the mammary gland, retraction of the nipple, and an increase in size or density of lymph nodes can be revealed during a superficial examination. If the disease is suspected, the breast cancer diagnosis is confirmed with the help of additional methods:
- Computed and magnetic resonance imaging
- X-ray examination
- Complete blood count and biochemical blood tests
Pathohistological and immunohistochemical analyses of samples of metastatic foci in metastatic breast cancer can be carried out as well.
Treatment options for stage 4 breast cancer
Treatment of advanced-stage breast cancer is mainly aimed at relieving pain and improving the patient’s quality of life. In this case, it is important to understand that most probably it will not be possible to achieve a complete cure. It is only possible to slow down the spread of the malignant process, prolong life as much as possible, and relieve disturbing symptoms.
The main therapeutic methods for the treatment of stage 4 breast cancer are chemotherapy and hormone therapy (in the case of hormone-sensitive cancer). Hormone therapy is administered before signs of the pathology progression or symptoms of severe intoxication appear.
Also, surgery can be carried out to treat complications of the main disease. Surgery can include removal of the breast and removal of single metastases.
Considering that at this stage a weakening of the immune system and some concomitant diseases (for example, anemia, exhaustion, frequent colds) go along with the malignant process, treatment should be continued as long as the positive effect exceeds the harm to the body.
How can I undergo treatment of stage 4 breast cancer during a lockdown?
Many countries have closed their borders following the lockdown regimen, due to the spread of the COVID-19. Thus, undergoing treatment abroad has become more complicated.
In case you need to start your treatment of breast cancer promptly, to continue your treatment abroad, or to make sure you get the best treatment possible, know that you can still undergo treatment abroad even if your country is in lockdown.
Booking Health can facilitate the arrangement of treatment for stage 4 breast cancer by providing the following services:
- Communication with the chosen hospital
- Providing patients with up-to-date information about the cost of treatment
- Translation of medical reports
- Solving the issues with receiving a medical visa, even if the request for a visa has been declined
- If due to lockdown the embassy is closed completely, Booking Health resolves the issue through the federal police
- Medical visa extension when it is necessary to continue the treatment abroad
- Flight and accommodation booking
- Interpreting services
You can be free of unnecessary stress, while Booking Health takes care of all organizational issues regarding the treatment. To specify any information about breast cancer treatment, leave a request on the Booking Health website, and a medical advisor will contact you shortly.