When it is about metastatic breast cancer vs. breast cancer, both define cancer cells that spread from the initial breast area. But there are different meanings to these words. Whether the cancer is metastatic or invasive has variations in its treatment process.
Understanding Metastatic Cancer Meaning
There are significant differences between metastatic breast cancer vs. breast cancer. Also known as the 4th stage breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer is cancer spreading from the (metastasized) breast to another body part. Cancers also metastasize as breast cancer in the liver, lungs, or bones. It happens when the breast cancer cells break off a breast tumor and move through the body in the lymph system or your bloodstream metastasis.
Even though the metastatic breast cancer diagnosis happens in another organ, doctors still identify them as breast cancers instead of lung cancers or bone cancers as they start as breast cells.
Major Differences Between Metastatic And Invasive Breast Cancer
The main difference between metastatic breast cancer vs. breast cancer is that metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced breast cancer stage. Both metastatic and invasive breast cancers spread beyond the point from where they start. Invasive breast cancers spread only within the breast or nearby tissues and lymph nodes or can slowly spread to other body parts.
Another difference between metastatic breast cancer and breast cancer is that the metastatic breast cancers spread out of the breast and nearby lymph nodes to distant body parts. When the cancer is invasive in the breast, it is generally easier for doctors to treat than metastatic disease.
Can Someone Have Both Metastatic And Invasive Breast Cancer?
Yes. But this always wouldn’t be the case as there are some differences in metastatic breast cancer vs. breast cancer. Most metastatic breast cancers were invasive breast tumors before traveling to another body part. Most doctors also consider metastatic breast cancer and invasive cancer types that spread further. It means that everyone with metastatic disease has invasive breast cancer. Sometimes, a person has metastatic breast cancer on diagnosis if doctors did not diagnose it before spreading.
However, another thing to note about metastatic breast cancer vs. breast cancer is that all breast cancers are not metastatic. Early-stage breast cancers can invade other body parts of lymph nodes nearby or breast, but they haven’t spread to further body parts.
Definition Of Invasive Breast Cancer
Breast cancer generally starts within the lobules or milk ducts of the breast tissue. The main highlight of metastatic breast cancer vs. breast cancer is that invasive breast cancer spreads from various areas to the nearby breast tissue. After they invade other healthy breast parts, invasive cancer travels to nearby lymph nodes.
The two most common invasive breast cancer types are:
Invasive ductal carcinoma – Starting in the milk duct and also spreading into nearby breast tissues
Invasive lobular carcinoma – It forms in the breast lobules before it starts to spread. The treatment choices would vary based on your cancer stage, health, and other factors.
Definition Of Metastatic Breast Cancer
Here we will know the definition of metastatic breast cancer to know metastatic breast cancer vs. breast cancer. Metastasis is the process of cancer cells spreading. It is cancer spreading (metastasized) from the breast to another body part, like breast cancer in the liver, lungs, brain, or bones. It occurs when the breast cancer cells break down the breast tumor and move through the body in the lymph system or the bloodstream.
Metastasis also happens when cancer cells break away from the original breast tumor to other body parts. These cancer cells also travel through the lymphatic system or the bloodstream (the lymph nodes network and vessels removing viruses, cell waste, and bacteria)
Breast cancer can return to another body part after months or years after the initial diagnosis and treatment. It is called distant recurrence or metastatic recurrence. Around 30% of the diagnosed women with early-stage breast cancer also develop metastatic disease. As there are only some male breast cancer cases, it is not clear how many metastasize, but men can also get a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer.
After the initial breast cancer diagnosis is metastatic, it is known as De Novo metastatic breast cancer. It means that by the time breast cancer is initially diagnosed, it has already reached other areas of the body.
The metastatic cancer cells consist of cells from the initial tumor site made up in the breast. So, after the breast cancer starts spreading towards the bones, the bone region metastatic tumor will not have bone cancer cells but breast cancer cells.
Why Does Metastasis Breast Cancer Happen?
Metastatic breast cancer often happens as the previous treatment did not destroy cancer cells. Sometimes, some cells are dormant and undetectable, which is the main cause of metastatic breast cancer or breast cancer. Later, after doctors finish the treatment, the cells can start growing again. De Novo metastatic breast cancer means that the breast cancer has already spread to other body parts at the initial diagnosis time.
You can’t do anything to avoid metastasizing breast cancer. However, knowing the differences in metastatic breast cancer vs. breast cancer and timely treatment significantly increases life expectancy and recovery chances.
A metastatic breast cancer diagnosis can overwhelm you without knowing the difference between metastatic breast cancer and breast cancer. Many people might doubt their past cancer treatments or be mad at the doctors or themselves for not curing the disease. Others might deal with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis in a matter-of-fact way. There isn’t any perfect way to come to diagnosis terms. You have to do and feel what works best for you and your situation.
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Always be hopeful and remember that metastatic cancers are not hopeless cases. People even have long and productive lives with stage IV breast cancer. Various treatment options can be available for metastatic breast cancers, and new medicines undergo daily tests. More people are starting to live life with hopes even after a metastasis breast cancer diagnosis.
While there is no cure yet for metastasis breast cancer, knowing the difference between metastatic breast cancer vs. breast cancer and its treatment can change the severity of the disease over the years. If a treatment doesn’t work for you, there are other options you can try. Cancer can sometimes be active and later go into the remission phase—most different treatments alone, in combination, or sequence.
Based on the current state, whether you’re having metastatic breast cancer or breast cancer, your doctor can recommend you to take treatment breaks when the disease is in control and you’re feeling well and alive. At University Cancer Centers, our team of world-class awarded surgeons and cancer specialists brings together the most advanced treatment options with the aim of complete recovery. Our treatment approaches include gene-targeted therapy, systemic chemotherapy, radiation therapy, gene-targeted therapy, and endocrine therapy for cancer treatment. We advise not to delay treatment and be in our expert care.