Always keep in mind that early detection is the key to fighting off cancer. So, it is very important for you to see a medical oncologist in order for you to know if you have breast cancer or not and be able to detect cancer at its earliest stages. The medical oncologist specializes on cancer. They will be able to advice you as well as educate you about cancer.
Also, they will be able to tell you about the signs and symptoms of cancer and increase your awareness. The rule of thumb is that you should see a medical oncologist at least once or twice a year to get diagnosed or checked if you have cancer or not. You have to remember that it is better to get checked for cancer even if you don’t have it as cancer may develop at any time to advanced stages without you knowing or feeling it.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer type to affect women. However, cancer cells do not confine themselves to the breast area only. Before or after treatment, it may spread to the other organs of the body and settle there. This is what we call metastatic breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer is an advanced stage of breast cancer because cancer cells have spread from the original or primary tumor to other organs of the body through the blood or lymph vessels. These organs may be the bones, lungs, brain, liver or in other lymph nodes. In this situation, breast cancer is the primary cancer. Cancer cells from the breast may move around the body and stay in other organs or tissues, forming breast cancer anew. This is metastasis or secondary cancer.
It may be a first diagnosis or that it has spread away from the breast long before you discover that you have breast cancer. Or it may be a recurrence, meaning, you were previously diagnosed with the illness and it comes back in the other organs of the body. Even if one has undergone aggressive treatment for breast cancer, there is no guarantee that it cannot recur. Sometimes even the smallest cluster of cells, when missed, can thrive and spread. That is why breast cancer patients should be open with the thought of metastasis or recurrence.
But this does not mean that she should keep on worrying. Nor should she lose hope when diagnosed. If kept under control, a woman can actually live for a few more years. Cancer research has come up with new treatment strategies to help you feel better and to prolong your life. The key is to treat this similar to that of a chronic disease.
Some days it may be active, sometimes not. Be open to the idea that your doctor might suggest more than one type of treatment. This is normal for those diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The goal is to lessen the symptoms and to improve the quality of your life.