Home Health Where metastatic breast cancer can spread in the body

Where metastatic breast cancer can spread in the body

Designed by Megan Schofield

Metastatic breast cancer is a form of advanced breast cancer that has spread (metastasized) beyond the breasts. This is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. The symptoms and diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer depend on where the cancer has spread in the body. This also affects the treatment options, which can be tailored to the individual. Metastatic breast cancer can spread to any part of the body, but the following locations are most common.

bones

illustration of a broken rib

  • When metastatic breast cancer has spread to the bones, the symptoms include pain, fractures, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, or decreased alertness caused by high calcium levels
  • The most common sites are the ribs, spine, pelvis, and the long bones in the arms and legs

lungs

animated lungs

  • When metastatic breast cancer has spread to the lungs, the symptoms include: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, fatigue, coughing up blood and mucus, pain or discomfort in the lungs

Liver

animation of a person scratching his arm

  • When metastatic breast cancer has spread to the liver, the symptoms include: nausea, fatigue and weakness, weight loss or poor appetite, abdominal bloating, leg swelling, yellow or itchy skin

Brain or spinal cord

animation of signals going to the brain

  • When metastatic breast cancer has spread to the brain or spinal cord, symptoms include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty speaking, difficulty moving or seizures, mood or personality changes, and stroke

This resource was created with support from Sanofi.

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