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Metastatic Breast Cancer: What You Should Know About Diagnosis, Treatment & Prognosis

More Options for Treating Breast CancerThere are multiple types of breast cancer, and it effects both men and women; importantly, the statistics of survival are increasing, mostly due to patient education and early diagnosis. In the United States, the CDC reports that over 260,000 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer annually, and it also affects approximately 2,600 men each year. October 13th is nationally recognized as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, which is a progressive form of the disease.

What is Metastatic Breast Cancer?
Metastatic breast cancer is not a specific type of cancer; it is breast cancer that has metastasized into other areas of the body such as the bones, lymph nodes, lungs, liver or brain.  When breast cancer cells divide, invade and proliferate into an area like the lungs, it is not referred to as lung cancer, but rather breast cancer within the lungs. This type of cancer is advanced and usually is at stage IV. It’s estimated that more than 154,000 women in the U.S. have metastatic breast cancer. (1)

Treatment Options
No matter where it has grown within the body, since these are breast cancer cells, it is treated with breast cancer therapies. The type of treatment option an oncologist recommends is determined by the kind of breast cancer that is diagnosed. For example, if it is triple-negative (no receptors), immunotherapy in combination with chemotherapy are common forms of treatment. Other types of metastatic breast cancer may be treated with hormone therapy, HER2 targeted therapies, along with various cancer drugs or immunotherapy options.

Treatment guidelines are based on the most recent studies and research provided by the NCI, ASCO and the NCCN, which are all national cancer and oncology-based organizations that regulate and recommend quality, optimal and effective treatment methods.  The diagnoses and treatments are based on quality and longevity of life, not cure. However, for many patients, their prognoses has proven to go 5 to 10 years beyond their original diagnoses (1).

Because of the late stage and rapid proliferation, metastatic breast cancer is closely monitored with ongoing blood tests, biopsies and imaging such as CT scans and MRIs.

Diagnosis and Screenings
Mammograms have helped to diagnose breast cancer early and to eliminate metastasizing cancer and deaths; however, not all breast cancer is detected with mammography. Additional symptoms of breast cancer are lumps in the breast or underarm, pain, nipple discharge or a physical change in the appearance of the breast or nipple.

Early diagnosis saves lives, and it is critical for treating any cancer effectively. Regular screenings are imperative, as are self-diagnoses. If you notice any changes, making an appointment with your physician is vital.

Along with their numerous specialties, Lexington Clinic has a Breast Care Center to offer the highest-quality and personalized care.

The Center for Breast Care at Lexington Clinic uses a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach to breast care. Their comprehensive team of radiologists, pathologists, surgeons and medical and radiation oncologists work alongside a fellowship-trained mammographer to create a customized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Their breast care team provides breast biopsies, MRIs, ultrasounds and assessments for breast cancer risks. Flexible appointment times, convenient locations and an experienced, professional staff guarantee patients will receive the highest quality of care you deserve in a compassionate setting.

Services and Procedures
• Breast MRI*
• Breast Ultrasound*
• Clinical Counseling
• Contrast Enhanced Mammography*
• Digital Mammography/3D Tomography*
– Diagnostic Mammography
– Screening Mammography
• Ductography
• High Risk Assessment for Breast Cancer
• MRI Guided Breast Biopsy*
• Needle Localization
• Sentinel Node Biopsy
• Sterotactic Breast Biopsy* (Upright and Table)
• Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy*
• Ultrasound Guided Breast Cyst Aspiration*

Lexington Clinic is Central Kentucky’s largest and oldest medical group. With 200+ providers in more than 30 specialties, they have cared for 600,000+ patients annually in the Lexington community since 1920.

Lexington Clinic South Broadway
Center for Breast Care
1221 South Broadway
Lexington, KY 40504
(859) 258-4444

Lexington Clinic East
100 North Eagle Creek Drive
Lexington, KY 40509
(859) 258-4444

Screening Mammography Only
Jessamine Medical and Diagnostics Center
110 Village Parkway
Nicholasville, KY 40356
(859) 258-4444

For more information about breast diseases and services call (859) 258-4932 or toll free at  (800) 565-6841.

*Accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR)

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