have recently been diagnosed with
metastatic or recurrent breast cancer, you may
emotions. There is no "normal" or "right" way to
react. You may feel angry or frustrated and may second-guess your previous
treatments. Or you may feel hopeless.
But there are treatments that help. Some recurrent
breast cancers can be successfully treated. Other recurrent breast cancers and metastatic breast cancer usually can't be cured. With these cancers, treatment is focused on keeping the cancer from getting worse. This includes helping women live as long as possible and with a good quality of life.
WebMD senior writer Miranda Hitti interviewed breast cancer survivors as part of a series for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The series, called “Me & the Girls,” explores the personal stories of these women after they were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer survivor Tammy Joyner, 49, lives in the Atlanta area. When Joyner was 45 years old, she went to see her gynecologist after noticing some breast changes -- aches and soreness that she wasn't used to.
"I said, 'Something's...
Being in a clinical trial, such as one where you have trastuzumab (Herceptin) and chemotherapy.
For recurrent breast cancer in other parts of the body and metastatic breast cancer, treatments may include:1
Hormone therapy and/or chemotherapy (with or without trastuzumab).
Tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy with lapatinib and capecitabine.
Monoclonal antibody therapy, such as trastuzumab or trastuzumab and pertuzumab.
Radiation therapy, surgery, or both for symptoms that may be causing pain or other problems.
Bisphosphonates or denosumab to
reduce bone pain, fractures, and spinal cord compression caused by cancer in the bones.
Being in a clinical trial, such as one testing new chemotherapy medicines and hormone therapy.
Side effects of treatment
Cancer and its treatments can be painful, but cancer pain can almost always be controlled. If you are having ongoing problems with managing pain, ask to see a pain specialist.
There are also many
things you can do at home to help manage side
effects of treatment. But talk to your doctor about any bothersome symptoms. Working together with your doctor can help you have the best possible quality of life.
Additional information about breast cancer is provided by the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/breast.