Healthy Carolina: Metastatic breast cancer
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CHARLOTTE – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means people and places across the country are taking time to do their part in battling the issue.
For over 155,000 Americans, their breast cancer has spread beyond their breasts to other parts of the body. Marien Brawer is one member of that group who suffers from Metastatic breast cancer which is now in her skeletal system.
Breast cancer can spread to almost any area of the body. Approximately 25 percent of breast cancers spread first to the bone, with the bones of the spine, ribs, pelvis, skull and long bones of the arms and legs most often affected.
Between 60-70 percent of women who die from breast cancer have eventually had it spread to their lungs, while the liver is the third most common site for breast cancer to spread. Two-thirds of women with Metastatic breast cancer eventually have it spread to their liver.
There is no cure for Metastatic breast cancer, but it can be managed for several years. The majority of treatments focus on alleviating symptoms, with treatments differing depending on the patient but including radiation, chemotherapy or other drug therapies.
Thanks to advances in treatment, as many as 40 percent of women with recurrent or Metastatic breast cancer survive at least five years.