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What are the symptoms of metastatic breast cancer?

Metastatic cancer is a cancer that has spread from the part of the body where it started (the primary site) to other parts of the body. Breast cancer most commonly spreads to the bone, but also can spread to the liver, lung, and brain. As the cancer progresses, it may affect any organ, even the eyes. It can also spread to the skin of the chest (near where the cancer started).
Signs and symptoms of metastatic breast cancer can include:
Headaches or blurred vision, if the cancer has spread to the brain
Loss of energy and feeling tired and/or weak
Weight loss (without trying).
Pain, such as back pain (for cancer spread to the spine), bone pain in an affected bone, or abdominal (belly) pain (for cancer spread to the liver).
Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or cough if the cancer has spread to the lungs.
 
Metastatic breast cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread. Sometimes, metastatic disease may not cause any symptoms.
  • If the breast or chest wall is affected, symptoms may include pain, nipple discharge, or a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm.
  • If the bones are affected, symptoms may include pain, fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
  • If the lungs are affected, symptoms may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, coughing, chest wall pain or extreme fatigue.
  • If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection and yellowing or itchy skin.
  • If the brain or spinal cord are affected, symptoms may include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech, difficulty with movement or seizures.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.