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.
When Elizabeth Edwards announced in March that her breast cancer had
returned, her peers -- other breast cancer survivors -- expressed a range of
emotions. Topping the list was empathy for Edwards, whose cancer had spread to
her bones. There was also pride in her bravery: She chose to be open and honest
about an intensely personal health issue. Others found themselves reliving
their own diagnoses. And, of course, many could not help but give way to
gnawing worry about their own health. Edwards'...
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.