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Breast Cancer: Risk Factors, Detection, Prognosis and Prevention
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Metastatic Breast Cancer is breast cancer that spreads to other organs or to lymph nodes far from the primary tumor in the tissue of the breast, and is also known as Stage IV Breast Cancer.
What are the risk factors of metastatic breast cancer?
Age and health history can affect the risk of developing breast cancer.
Anything that increases your chance of getting breast cancer is a breast cancer risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for breast cancer include the following:
Breast cancer is sometimes caused by inherited
gene mutations (changes). Hereditary breast cancer
makes up approximately 5% to 10% of all breast cancer. Some altered genes
related to breast cancer are more common in certain ethnic groups.
Women who have an altered gene related to breast cancer and who have had breast cancer in one breast have an increased risk of developing breast cancer in the other breast. These women also have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, and may have an increased risk of developing other cancers. Men who have an altered gene related to breast cancer also have an increased risk of developing this disease.
How is metastatic breast cancer detected?
Tests have been developed that can detect altered genes. These genetic tests are sometimes done for members of families with a high risk of cancer. Tests that examine the breasts are used to detect and diagnose breast cancer.
A doctor should be seen if changes in the breast are noticed. The following tests and procedures may be used:
What is the prognosis for metastatic breast cancer?
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following factors:
How can metastatic breast cancer be prevented?
Breast cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting breast cancer. By preventing breast cancer, the number of new cases of breast cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by breast cancer.
To prevent new breast cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective factors. Anything that increases your chance of developing breast cancer is called a risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing breast cancer is called a protective factor.
Some risk factors for breast cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of breast cancer. Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does not mean that you will not get breast cancer.
Different ways to prevent breast cancer are being studied, including:
Source: Compiled from information from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
NCI health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Cancer Institute or any other Federal Agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.