When you (or maybe someone close to you) have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, it means that cancer has reached stage 4. As it reaches high level already, you will naturally wonder about the stage 4 breast cancer survival rate. You may even wonder whether it’s possible to survive the disease. Stage 4 cancer is very serious and threatening life because the cancer cells have traveled beyond the breast tissue.
In the most cases of stage 4 breast cancer, the condition occurs long after the first diagnosis. It’s also possible for someone to get diagnosed with a metastatic breast cancer after the first diagnosis. However, this case rarely happens. Needless to say, fighting cancer at this stage is difficult and can be really demotivating. Therefore, the supports from friends and families become very important.
Knowing and Understanding the Survival Rate
What is the stage 4 breast cancer survival rate? According to the ACS (American Cancer Society), the five-year survival rate after the first diagnosis is around 22%. The rate is really lower compared to the breast cancer at stage 3 (around 72%) and stage 2 (more than 90%). Considering these survival rates, early diagnosis accompanied by early treatment becomes unquestionably essential.
Although that the survival rate is around 22%, it doesn’t truly reflect on the life expectancy of every individual. A survival rate is known after a number of studies based on many patients’ conditions. The rate is not a prediction. When you are diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, your life expectancy will depend on:
General health condition
The receptors of hormone on the cells with cancer
The types of tissue that have been affected by cancer
Outlook and attitude
Aside from these five things, the survival rate will also be affected by other factors such as race or ethnicity. According to the National Cancer Institue, Asian women have the highest survival rate followed by the Non-Hispanic white women and American Indian and the Native Alaskan women.
Surviving a Stage 4 Breast Cancer
With the low stage 4 breast cancer survival rate, you can imagine just how difficult trying to survive from the illness. Is it even possible to survive? It is difficult to fight cancer at the late stage like stage 4. However, it’s possible to improve the quality of life and prolong the lifespan. What needs to be done is following the doctor’s recommendation of treatment as well as practicing the healthier lifestyle.
For the treatment plan, it’s recommended to work with a doctor who specializes in cancer or also known as the oncologist. The treatment will be determined by the patient’s medical history and the specific characteristics of cancer.
Along with good treatment, healthier diet and habits will also be helpful to improve life quality. It’s important to eat nutritious foods and maintain the ideal body weight. The doctor may recommend avoiding particular foods such as high-fat milk, alcohol, large portions of red meat, sugary foods and more. Another important thing to increase stage 4 breast cancer survival rate is to regularly exercise even only for small amounts.