Newly Diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer.
What brings you to this website is most likely a metastatic breast cancer (MBC) diagnosis. Perhaps you experienced a recurrence from early stage breast cancer (stages 0,I, II, or III) to advanced or late stage breast cancer (stage IV, MBC). In some cases you may have been diagnosed de-Novo meaning that you never experienced an early stage of breast cancer and based on diagnostic tests were diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer as your initial diagnosis. Whatever the reason, I want you to know that you will be supported and that our Surviving Breast Cancer (SBC) community is here for you!
We are here to help!
A metastatic breast cancer diagnosis is different than an early stage diagnosis in the way in which it disrupts our lives and throws us into a whirlwind of continual doctors appointments, follow ups, tests, scans, and the like. Each and every one of us have unique experiences, and what our SBC platform and community provides is education, support, and resources for you as a complement to your medical care. We are not medical professionals, nor provide medical advice. But what we do offer is content, stories, and community when you need it most! What I mean by that is you are welcome to dive in to absolutely everything we offer today, or, you can take bite size approaches to get the information and support when you feel ready for it. We've listed a few links and resources to help get you started and to hopefully make things a bit less overwhelming.
Who Should I Tell?
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Should I Get A Second Opinion?
You may consider receiving a second (third, or fouth) opinion from another medical oncologist or breast surgeon. In some cases, people get multiple opinions before making any decisions on their care and medical treatment plan.
Women in our Breast Cancer Support Group often share that it is important for them to feel comfortable with your doctors; that there is a rapport and trust. After all, your medical team is going to be your primary caregiver so it is important you feel comfortable with the person, able to ask questions, and feel confident in your plan of action. As one woman in our MBC community mentioned, "the more smart people reviewing my specific cancer, the better!"
Your Medical Care Team may consist of one or several of the following:
Breast Plastic Surgeon
Palliative Care team
What Treatment Options Do I Have?
Thanks to continued research taking place in Breast Cancer, people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer have a variety of treatment options and are able to live long and fulfilling lives. Treatment options will be tailored to your specific diagnosis and dependent on where the cancer has metastasized (spread). For example, is it HER2 positive or negative, is it triple negative meaning it is estrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative and HER2 negative. Additionally, though a series of diagnostics, your oncologist will also be able to tell if the cancer is in one area like the bones or the lungs, or if it is in multiple areas such as bones and other organs (liver, brain, etc.).
You may also consider genetic testing. The more information you have about you, your body, and your caner, the better!
Traditional standard of care includes:
Surgery (not always required if you are diagnosed with metastatic stage IV breast cancer, that is, your cancer has spread beyond your breast to your bones, lungs, liver, or brain)
Radiation (not always required but may be offered to target specific metastasis and/or allieveate pain as a form of palliative treatment)
Hormonal Therapy (not always required)
Oftentimes people will also consider integrative therapies as a complement to the standard treatments which also has been shown to reduce some of the side effects of treatment:
Additionally speak to your oncologist about Clinical Trials and if you would be a candidate.
Will I Need Chemotherapy?
It is most likely that if you are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer you will be offer chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy. Treatment options can come in the form of oral chemotherapy or IV.