Stage 4 Breast Cancer Prognosis Factors

Stage 4 Breast Cancer Prognosis Factors

There are four stages of breast cancer, from stage 1 to stage 4. In stage 1, the cancer is least severe and the chance of recovery is still high. However, at stage 4, the malignant tumor has spread to other parts of the body (such as the lungs, skin, bones, liver, brain, or distant lymph nodes) and is very difficult to cure. Thus, this stage is also known as advanced or metastatic stage. The cancer might be already at the advanced stage when it is first discovered, but it can also be a reappearance of previous breast cancer that has already affected other parts of the body. It is a very serious condition and requires focused treatments. Stage 4 breast cancer prognosis involves the prediction of outcome and the chance of survival that are based on other patients’ experiences. Here are the prognosis factors of a stage 4 breast cancer:

1. The first factor is the survival tendency. As a matter of a fact, the five-year survival rate for patients suffering from metastatic breast cancer is only 20 percent. Thus, the aim of the treatment is a long term survival of the patient, since the cancer at this stage is incurable.

2. Hormonal factors also play an important role. Estrogen and progesterone that can be found in birth control medications or hormone replacement therapy can actually cause the cancerous cells to grow. A hormone receptor status test will show whether or not any of these hormones are causing the growth of the malignant tumor. If the patient is estrogen receptor positive (ER+) or progesterone receptor positive (PR+), the cancer should respond well to hormone suppression treatments. Moreover, the three-year survival rate for ER+/PR+ patients reaches 97 percent while the survival rate for ER-/PR- patients is only 83 percent.

3. Histology is another important factor since it determines the degree of aggressiveness of the disease by identifying the types of cancer cells found in the tumor. For instance, the type of breast cancer known as tubular adenocarcinoma is considered as the most survivable. On the other hand, inflammatory breast cancer is very aggressive and the five-year survival rate for stage 4 is only about 11 percent.

4. Other factors that affect the stage 4 breast cancer prognosis and survival rates are the areas in which the cancer has spread, the size of the tumor, age and race factor, genetic history, response to treatment such as chemotherapy, biological therapy, clinical trials, medications, radiation therapy and surgery.

Stage 4 Breast Cancer Prognosis Factors

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