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Breast Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent - Topic Overview

To plan your treatment, your doctor will consider where the cancer is and what type of treatment you had in the past. Your wishes and quality of life are also important factors. Treatment choices may include surgery, medicines like chemotherapy or hormone therapy, and radiation. Sometimes a mix of these treatments is used.

Treatments for breast cancer can cause side effects. Your doctor can tell you what problems to expect and help you find ways to manage them.

Your doctor may recommend that you join a clinical trial if one is available in your area. Clinical trials test new cancer treatments and may be the best choice for you.

If treatments don't work, a time may come when the goal of your treatment shifts from trying to cure your cancer to keeping you as comfortable as possible. This can allow you to make the most of the time you have left.

It's common to have a wide range of emotions. It may be hard to stay hopeful when you are fighting cancer for the second or third time. These ideas may help:

  • Get the support you need. Spend time with people who care about you, and let them help you.
  • Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, and eat nourishing foods.
  • Talk about your feelings. Find a support group where you can share your experience.
  • Stay positive. Do things each day that will help you stay calm and relaxed.

If your emotions are too much to handle, be sure to tell your doctor. You may be able to get counseling or other types of help.

You may want to think about planning for the future. A living will lets doctors know what type of life-support measures you want if your health gets much worse. You can also choose a health care agent to make decisions in case you aren't able to. If you put your wishes in writing, you can make it easier for your loved ones and others to know what you want.

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