Q: What is metastatic breast cancer?
A: Metastatic breast cancer is also known as Stage 4 breast cancer. At this stage, the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs, brain, liver or bones. The cancer cells can spread and multiple in some ways and sometimes spread through one or more ways together.
These steps include:
- Nearby healthy cells are invaded by cancer cells and taken over. Therefore, theses affected cells start to replicate more abnormal cells in their area.
- Cancer cells first travel through the walls of the surrounding lymph or blood vessels which are then penetrated by these cells.
- The lymph system and the bloodstream are able to transport cancer cells to other parts of the body. Therefore, once these cancer cells migrate though circulation, they are able to travel other parts of the body.
- In addition to lymph system and the bloodstream, cancer cells can also be lodged in capillaries and transported to distant areas. These cells then divide and stay in the tissue.
- Cancer cells themselves can also form new small tumors in the places where they are transported, which is called micrometastases.
Keywords: advanced metastatic breast cancer