Stage 4 breast cancer survival rate

The growth of cancer cells in the breast tissues is referred to as breast cancer. When such cancer cells spread to other parts of the body or metastasize, then it is known to at stage 4 of breast cancer.

Symptoms of breast cancer

  • The breast skin may develop dimples. One breast may become larger as compared to the other and may have a different feel to it.
  • Presence of a painless lump in the affected breast or breasts. Increased thickening of a part of the breast
  • Upturned nipple
  • The nipple or the breast skin may flake, peel or develop scales
  • The breast skin will have a ridge-like appearance akin to an orange peel
  • Bloody or pus like discharge from the nipple
  • The nipples or the breasts may become painful or tender to touch. They may become increasingly red
  • Some patients may experience unexpected loss of weight, bone pain, skin ulcers and swelling of the arm on the side of the affected breast.

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Causes of breast cancer

  • Mutations of the cells in the breast result in growth of abnormal cells which leads to breast cancer. The causes of such cell mutations are unknown
  • Some of the risk factors that increase the susceptibility to developing breast cancer include inheritance of BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes from parents; exposure to radiation; an increased age of 55 and above; early onset of menstruation, late onset of menopause and late first pregnancy at 35 and above; family or personal history of breast cancer; prolonged use of oral contraceptives for a period of over ten years and smoking and excessive alcoholism

Treatment for  stage 4 breast cancer

  • Surgery to remove the affected portions of the breast and other body tissues.
  • Chemotherapy that involves the intravenous administration of specific cancer killing drugs
  • Radiation therapy that directs intense rays of radiation at the cancer cells to kill them

Stage 4 breast cancer survival rate

Breast cancer is a widespread form of cancer like skin cancer. Hence, it is easily diagnosed and has a high survival rate. However, like all cancers the survival rate keeps on decreasing as the stage increases. Hence the survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer is very low.

Survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer refers to the percentage of patients that live for a particular number of years after the diagnosis of the condition. Normally, the five year survival rate is the standard followed by most doctors which depicts the percentage of patients that survive for at least a period of five years after diagnosis of breast cancer.

The low survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer is due to the fact that breast cancer at stage 4 is at a metastasized stage and has spread to other tissues of the body. The cancer is not isolated to the breast tissues, but may spread to the lungs, bones and even as far as the brain. Hence the five year survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer on an average is as low as 16 to 20 percent.

The advancements in medical science has improved the survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer and early treatment after diagnosis can increase the survival rate by an additional 18 months.

As per the data given by various cancer research institutes, patients who have been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer can live to an average of nearly three and a half years more after the initial diagnosis and treatment.

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