Skip to content

    Breast Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Life With Metastatic Breast Cancer

    Being told you have metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer is a lot to take in. It means your cancer has spread to other parts of your body. There is no cure, but your doctor has ways to slow the disease's growth. You might live for many more years.

    Thanks to better treatments, people are living longer than ever.

    Recommended Related to Breast Cancer

    Nutrition and Exercise During Breast Cancer Treatment

    In this article you will learn about diet, nutrition, and exercise during breast cancer treatment. Regardless of the type of breast cancer treatment you are receiving, this is a time to take special care of yourself by eating right, getting enough rest, and, if possible, exercising.

    Read the Nutrition and Exercise During Breast Cancer Treatment article > >

    To manage your treatment and life on your own terms, learn about the disease and what to expect.

    What’s Different About Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment?

    When you have early-stage cancer, your treatment is short-term and focused on a cure.

    With stage IV breast cancer, some form of treatment will be a part of your life from now on. The goal is to slow the disease’s growth for as long as possible, with the least amount of side effects or pain.

    As medical therapies improve, experts hope that this form of cancer someday will be treated like diabetes or other ongoing, "chronic" conditions, where the disease is managed for several years or even decades.

    How Is It Treated?

    The options your doctor recommends for you will depend on:

    • Where in your body you now have cancer
    • The kind of cancer cells you have
    • Your symptoms
    • Breast cancer treatments you’ve had in the past
    • Your general health and age
    • Your preferences

    What Treatment Is Right for Me?

    That decision is up to you. Doctors will offer you choices based on your unique situation. Find out as much as you can about your options, and make sure you know the side effects before you make decisions.

    These common treatments are often used alone or in combination:

    Hormone therapy. If your cancer is fueled by estrogen or progesterone, hormone therapy medications can help shrink the tumors. They starve cancer cells by cutting off the supply of hormones they need to grow.

    Anti-HER2 targeted treatment. Some breast cancer cells have too much of a protein called HER2. This makes them more likely to grow and spread. Drugs that target this protein can help slow the growth of HER2-positive breast cancers.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    Breast Cancer Overview
    From mammograms to living after treatment.
    Dealing with breast cancer
    Get answers to your questions.
     
    woman having mammogram
    The 3 latest tips to know.
    woman undergoing breast cancer test
    Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
     
    Resolved To Quit Smoking
    VIDEO
    Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
    Article
     
    Woman getting mammogram
    Article
    Screening Tests for Women
    Article
     
    serious woman
    Article
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    QUIZ
     
    what is your cancer risk
    Article
    breast cancer survivors
    Article