Breast Cancer Metastasis

Advanced breast cancer metastasis to bone

Stage 4 breast cancer is known as advanced stage breast cancer or metastatic breast cancer, which means that cancer has spread to other parts of the body. One of the common symptoms of as advanced stage breast cancer that usually appears in the later stages of the disease, is back pain.

63 years old Halise Pekmezci, who has 3 children, felt severe back pain. While the back pain was getting worse, and despite painkiller medications, doctors could not understand why she was feeling such a terrible pain and could not be diagnosed for months. She became unable to walk after 6 months and started using a wheelchair because of unbearable ache in the place where cancer spread. 

Treatment of metastatic breast cancer

After she visited Memorial Hospital to get a second opinion, with the result of many medical tests and consultation, it was understood that she had a stage 4 breast cancer that metastasized to the bones. Bone metastasis in breast cancer was an important clinical problem. Bone fractures had an impact on prognosis of breast cancer. Bone metastases weren’t the same as cancer that starts in the bone. Bone metastases were made up of abnormal cancer cells that started from the original tumor site. Bone metastasis could weaken bones. This put the patient’s bones at risk for breaking. In some cases, a fracture was the first sign of bone metastasis. The most common sites, where bones might break were the bones of the spine. For example, sudden pain in the middle of patient’s back might mean that a bone was breaking or collapsing.

Surviving Stage 4 Breast Cancer: Is It Possible?

For patients with bone metastases, the goal of management was to prevent further skeletal-related events, managed complications, reduced bone pain, and improved quality of life. Treatment options for metastatic bone disease were often dependent upon which bone or bones had been affected by the spread of cancer.

Broken bones weakened from metastatic cancer in her waist was cleared by Oncology surgeon, Teoman Yanmaz, MD and his team. The surgery removed the most of the tumor, 8 platinum pins inserted to strengthen and provided structure to bone damaged by metastasis. After the surgery, radiation therapy (radiotherapy) was used via high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. To reduce the patient’s risk of the cancer coming back and to destroy cancer cells on her right breast and clear bone metastases, she was treated with chemotherapy for 6 months. 

Patients with metastasized bone disease require a team approach to cure. A medical oncologist should work very closely with an orthopedic surgeon who is very familiar with MBD, as well as a radiation oncologist. Pain management specialists and social workers are strongly recommended, also. Scheduled follow-up or surveillance should be set up with each of these individuals as determined by the medical oncologist and oncology surgeon.

Faced with secondary breast cancer

After a long period of time, she had a hormone therapy around 8 years. When her breast cancer occurred again in 2018, the metastasic tumor was removed surgically. Surgery to remove metastatic breast cancer presents a number of challenges. We have a team of surgeons at Memorial Hospital, who focus on performing this type of operation. Memorial Hospitals’ highly experienced oncology surgeons are among the leaders in the field at this type of procedure, which has become much safer recently due to improved imaging techniques and advances in surgical techniques. 

Never give up hope!

The patient, Pekmezci is still using hormone therapy and stated that she had been struggling with breast cancer for 11 years. Memorial Hospital’s oncology department’s surgeons, physicians and team helped me to understand diagnosis, and discussed and recommended personalised appropriate treatment options, and managed symptoms and pain to improve the quality of my life. Oncology surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, all required procedures were performed by highly qualified doctors and oncology nurses trained to handle my psychological and physical requirements. I guess I don’t have any ability to express my appreciation for their help and support.

Feb. 19, 2020