Any type of cancer will be categories into four different stages. Breast cancer is no different. Amongst all four stages of breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer or the stage 4 breast cancer is known to be the most advanced and with even worst outlook. It is important to learn more about metastatic breast cancer symptoms in order to take early action for treatment.
Understanding What Can Be Defined as Stage 4 Breast Cancer
Cancer that has spread further to other areas of the body will be considered as metastatic breast cancer. It may have reached lungs, liver, bones or even brain. A metastatic breast cancer usually happens in a long time after a patient is diagnosed with cancer. In some rare cases, the first diagnosis already detected metastatic cancer.
The Possible Symptoms to Be Aware
Now, let’s learn about the possible metastatic breast cancer symptoms. The signs of this cancer can be seen clearly on the breast. Aside of that, there are also a few signs related to digestive system and overall body condition.
- Lump on the Breast
A tumor may be too small to be seen at early stage. However, at later stage like stage 4, a lump can certainly be found. The lump will be seen or felt on the breast or even the armpit area.
- Pain or Discomfort on Breast
As cancer grows, there might be discomfort or pain felt on the breast. A tumor can grow large enough to invade the skin causing ulcers or the painful sores. It may also spread into ribs and muscles that will certainly be really painful.
- Nipple Discharge
It can be found not only as one of metastatic breast cancer symptoms. Breast cancer at an earlier stage will also have this symptom. The fluid that comes out from the nipple maybe clear or even colored. It can look like pus or yellowish or even bloody.
The breast may seem to be fine at early stages. However, as stage 4 is reached, the swelling will be experienced in the breast or in the arm area affected by cancer.
- Changes of Skin Outlook
Depending on the type of breast cancer, the skin may change. Cancer cells may cause flaky and dry skin or redness and dimpled skin. If the breast cancer involves the skin of the breast, the changes will be obvious.
- Difficulty to Sleep
It may seem unlikely but insomnia is included in metastatic breast cancer symptoms. It primarily happens due to the pain and the discomfort continues to disturb sleep.
- Body Fatigue
This is one of the most common symptoms of cancer. Around 25% to 99% patients feel fatigue during a treatment and around 20% to 30% patients feel fatigue after a treatment. The fatigue makes daily life more difficult.
- Digestive Problems
Some problems like diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and vomiting may happen as a sign of cancer. The lack of quality sleep and the anxiety that haunts the cancer patients upset the digestive system. Eating healthily may become difficult because of this problem.
- Breath Shortness
There might be an overall difficulty to breathe normally. Taking deep breaths may become difficult and there may be tightness felt in the chest. Amongst the metastatic breast cancer symptoms, this may also indicate that cancer has invaded lungs.