Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Living Well With Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments continued...

Targeted therapies. Trastuzumab (Herceptin), pertuzumab (Perjeta), and lapatinib (Tykerb) are likely treatments if breast cancer has high amounts of the protein HER2, which helps cancer cells grow. When used alone or with chemotherapy, these drugs can shrink tumors, slow cancer growth, and, in some cases, help you live longer than chemotherapy alone. If your breast cancer doesn't have the HER2 protein, your doctor may use another type of targeted therapy, everolimus (Afinitor). In combination with exemestane, it can help stop the growth of some types of advanced breast cancer. Albociclib (Ibrance) is yet another drug used in cases of HER2-negative cancer in combination with letrozole.

Chemotherapy. This can control cancer and improve quality of life with metastatic cancer. If your cancer is hormone receptor-negative (meaning an anti-estrogen treatment is unlikely to work), you may get small doses of one chemotherapy drug at a time. “This can minimize side effects and make the drugs more effective over a longer period of time,” Troso-Sandoval says.

Other treatments. You may get surgery to remove tumors at the original cancer site or another site where it has spread. This can prevent or ease symptoms and may extend your life. Radiation can shrink tumors and ease pain. Other medications can ease painful symptoms where cancer has spread.


Dealing With Fear and Uncertainty

Even with better treatments, living with metastatic breast cancer can be an emotional roller coaster -- especially at first. Time can help. These tips may also:

Don't obsess about survival statistics. “Since statistics apply to groups of people rather than to a single cancer patient, it is hard to know what those numbers mean for any single person,” says Karen Hartman. She is senior clinical social worker at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Commack, NY. “This is one part of understanding your disease that is not always helpful.”

Get emotional support. Hartman recommends individual counseling with a social worker who specializes in cancer, especially if you are newly diagnosed. You can also get practical and emotional support by joining a support group. Make sure it's for women with metastatic breast cancer.

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow