Advanced Breast Cancer

Patients diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer have disease that has spread from the affected breast to one or more distant sites in the body. Stage 4 breast cancer is also referred to as “advanced” or “metastatic” breast cancer. Breast cancer mostly spreads to the bones, lungs, liver, and brain. (It’s still called breast cancer, even though it’s moved somewhere else.) 

The following is a general guide of the treatment of stage 4 breast cancer. Your cancer will ultimately influence the treatments that are right for your situation. The information on this web-site is intended to help inform you about possible treatment options and to create discussion with your treatment team.

The presence of hormone receptors in the breast cancer cells determines whether hormonal therapy is a treatment option. If the cancer does not have estrogen or progesterone receptors, the mainstay of treatment is chemotherapy.  

Treatment may also include surgery, radiation, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatment techniques. Multidisciplinary treatment, which uses two or more treatment types, is important for every cancer patient and will help in creating a care plan and goals for improving a chance of cure or increasing survival rate. In some cases, participation in a clinical trial may provide additional options.