Your Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment Path

Whether you have just been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer or your treatment is already under way, it is important to know the next steps in your treatment journey. This guide can help you understand the metastatic breast cancer (MBC) treatment path that you may take with your health care team as you make your treatment decisions.

Start your journey


What does a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer mean?

Metastatic or advanced breast cancer means that the cancer has begun to spread to other parts of your body. About 30% to 40% of patients diagnosed with earlier stages of breast cancer will eventually develop MBC. Others may have MBC at their first diagnosis, which is called a de novo diagnosis.

Remember You are not alone in your fight against MBC. Visit the MBC Communities section to connect with others in the MBC community


Finding the right treatment

After diagnosis, your doctor may talk to you about your prognosis and your best course of treatment. The right treatment can depend on a number of factors. Some of these include

  • Your pathology report. Learn more here
  • Where the cancer has spread
  • What (if any) treatments you’ve had before for breast cancer, such as treatment you had in addition to surgery, which is called adjuvant therapy
  • The potential benefits and risks of your specific treatments
  • Your symptoms

Talk to your health care team and your loved ones about your goals for treatment. This may also help you choose the course of therapy that’s right for you.

Find out more Cancer Support Community has a helpful list of the different types of treatments for MBC


Checking in with your health care team

After starting a treatment, you will likely see your health care team for a follow-up visit every few months. Here, you will usually get routine blood tests and scans. Some of these include

  • X-ray
  • Computerized tomography, or CT, scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI
  • Blood cell and platelet counts
  • Blood tests for tumor markers
  • Blood chemistries for your liver and kidneys
  • Calcium level counts

These tests can help show if your treatment is working, or if another option might be better for you.

Don’t forget It’s a good idea to bring a notepad or tablet computer so you or a loved one can ask questions and take notes at each appointment


Deciding on a new treatment

Although your first set of treatments may stop working for you, there are other options you can try. These can be hormonal therapies, targeted therapies, or chemotherapy. In fact, over the past decade, it has become more common to get several different treatments for MBC. Keep talking to your health care team about your goals of therapy to help you decide on each new treatment.

Learn more Visit this Web site for information for patients living with MBC

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