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Early warning signs of metastatic breast cancer: know the red flags

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early warning sign of metastatic breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, but with early symptom detection and treatment, the chances of survival are significantly improved. One of the most concerning developments in breast cancer is metastasis, where cancer cells spread from the breast to other parts of the body. Understanding the early warning signs of metastatic breast cancer is crucial for timely intervention and better outcomes. In this article, we will discuss the key signs and symptoms that should prompt you to seek medical attention.

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Signs and Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer

Unexplained Bone Pain

One of the primary early warning signs of metastatic breast cancer is unexplained bone pain. Metastatic breast cancer often spreads to the bones, causing pain that is persistent and not relieved by rest or over-the-counter pain medication. This pain typically feels deep within the bones and may occur in the spine, ribs, hips, or other areas.

Shortness of Breath

Metastatic breast cancer can also spread to the lungs, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath. If you find yourself becoming increasingly breathless with minimal exertion or notice any changes in your breathing patterns, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider.

Persistent Cough

A persistent cough, particularly one that produces blood-tinged sputum, could be a symptom of metastasis to the lungs. While many common respiratory issues can cause coughing, any prolonged or concerning cough should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Swelling or Pain in the Liver Area

The liver is another common site for metastatic breast cancer to spread. If you experience abdominal pain or notice swelling in the upper right side of your abdomen, it’s essential to get checked out. Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) can also be a symptom of liver involvement.

Neurological Symptoms

Metastatic breast cancer can spread to the brain, leading to various neurological symptoms. These symptoms may include headaches, seizures, changes in vision, weakness, difficulty speaking, or confusion. Any sudden or unusual neurological symptoms should be reported to a doctor promptly.

Weight Loss and Fatigue

Unexplained weight loss and persistent fatigue can be signs or symptoms of cancer progression, including metastatic breast cancer. If you find yourself losing weight without dieting or experiencing severe fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest, consult your healthcare provider.

Changes in Bowel or Bladder Habits

Metastatic breast cancer can spread to the pelvic area and affect bowel and bladder function. Symptoms may include constipation, diarrhea, blood in the stool or urine, and changes in urinary habits. Any significant changes in these areas should be investigated.

Conclusion

Early detection of symptoms of metastatic breast cancer is crucial for effective treatment and improved outcomes. If you experience any of these early warning signs, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider promptly. Regular breast self-exams, mammograms, and ongoing communication with your healthcare team can help in monitoring your breast health and detecting any potential issues at an early stage. Remember that not all symptoms are necessarily indicative of metastatic breast cancer, but it’s always better to be safe and seek professional medical evaluation if you have any concerns. Stay vigilant and prioritize your breast health to increase your chances of early detection and successful treatment.

 

Outcomes4Me provides FDA-approved treatment guidance for breast cancer including Stage I through to metastatic diagnoses. If you would like detailed information on your treatment options, please start the diagnosis survey below or download the Outcomes4Me App.

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