How long can you live with breast cancer without treatment? (2023)

What you should know about breast cancer growth

How long can you live with metastatic breast cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when normal cells mutate and multiply faster than normal. One cell is divided to become two cells, then each of those cells is divided to become four cells, and so on. The uncontrolled multiplication of cancer cells creates tumors in breast tissue.

The speed at which a cancer progresses depends on the speed at which the cancer cells grow. Cancer growth is difficult to estimate because not all cancer cells multiply and divide at the same rate.

In most cases, breast cancer first develops in the milk ducts, or lobules, the glands that produce milk, before spreading to the breast tissue.

Breast cancer that develops in the ducts or lobules can spread to the connective tissue. From there it can spread to the surrounding lymph nodes.

Once in the lymph nodes, cancer cells can enter the lymphatic system or bloodstream, where they can travel to other areas of the body.


What should I ask my doctor about metastatic breast cancer?

If you've been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, ask your doctor:

  • What treatment options do I have?
  • What's my prognosis?
  • What side effects can I expect?
  • Will complementary therapy help me feel better?
  • What happens if I want to stop the treatment?
  • How can I feel better during the treatment?

A note from the Cleveland Clinic

Metastatic breast cancer is advanced breast cancer. Vendors classify it as stage 4 breast cancer. It occurs when cancer cells, often left over from previous breast cancer treatments, begin to spread to other parts of the body. Although there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer, treatment can extend your life and help you feel better. There are many medications available. So if one treatment isn't working, your care team may try a different approach. If you experience any symptoms or feel unwell, especially if you have been treated for breast cancer in the past, talk to your doctor.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic physician on 04/14/2021.


Which tumor factors threaten my life the most?

There are important factors in tumor biology that are not well reflected in breast cancer stage survival statistics. Here are some important factors that put you at greater risk of living past the cancer stage. You should ask your surgeon or oncologist to explain your recipient's condition and provide you with a copy of your biopsy and pathology report.

Triple receptor negative breast cancer

Triple negative breast cancer is considered a more aggressive breast cancer. Always requires chemotherapy. If you have triple-negative breast cancer, your risk of dying is higher than the often-cited standard statistics for any given stage of breast cancer. learn more abouttriple negative breast cancerwith our video lesson

HER2 positive breast cancer

HER2-positive breast cancer is also a more aggressive tumor. But the good news is that we now have incredibly effective targeted chemotherapy and immunotherapy for HER2-positive cancers. Our video lessons coverHER2 positive breast cancermore details .

breast cancer at a young age

(Video) How long can you expect to live with metastatic breast cancer?

Women under the age of 40 are more likely to develop breast cancer later. Also, the specific type of cancer that younger women develop is more likely to be more aggressive. Consequently, age is a relative risk factor for survival.

untreated breast cancer

Educate everyone to be an expert in their own breast cancer treatment.

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likelihood of cancer progression

How long the remission phase can last is one of the most frequently asked questions from patients with stage 4 breast cancer. The answer to this question depends on several factors involved.

First, tumors may have a different growth tendency. Slow-growing tumors mean longer remission and longer life expectancy. Second, age matters. In young patients, the cancer tends to be more aggressive and resistant to therapy. Third, the location of the metastases plays an important role. Metastases to bone or lymphatic tissue are a more prognostic treatment option than lung, liver, and especially brain damage.

Another very important factor is the response of tumors to therapy. In women with hormone-positive breast cancer whose tumor responds well to hormone therapy, life expectancy can be 10 to 15 years, even taking into account the fourth stage of the disease. For comparison, the life expectancy of patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer is only one year.

What Are Cancer Survival Statistics?

How long can you live with breast cancer without treatment? (1)

An important part of the prediction is looking at survival rates. These are numbers that researchers collect over many years in people with the same type of cancer. These numbers are based on large groups of people. There are two main interventions for breast cancer:

survive breast cancerRecipethey reflect the percentage of women living 5 years or more after diagnosis. That means the numbers are based on women who have had itMamaCancer for at least 5 years. Advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment have resulted in ever higher survival rates, so women who are diagnosed today are likely to have better prospects.

Relative Survival Ratesignore the cause of death. They are a measure of the percentage of people with cancer who lived a certain amount of time after diagnosis compared to people who did not have cancer.

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Treatment of stage III breast cancer

Sometimes large breast cancers invade muscles or lodge in large arteries, veins, or nerve trunks, making them undetectable.surgicalremove completely.

Therefore, treatment in these patients usually begins with radiation or chemotherapy to isolate them before surgery. But it also has a large tumorNOattached to the muscle can sometimes be completely removed. There areNOdirect relationship between tumor size and whether or not it can be treated surgically.

Apparently stage 3 breast cancer that surgeons can completely removemakeThey tend to have a significantly better prognosis than inoperable stage 3 breast cancer. However, some breast tumors, particularly those that are ER positive, do respondvery goodto chemotherapy. So good they actually run off the stage.

Therefore, it is difficult to predict the overall prognosis of stage 3 breast cancer as it varies from person to person. If the response to chemotherapy is favorable, the overall survival rate is approximately72%.

Can metastatic breast cancer go into remission?

Metastatic breast cancer may never go away completely. But treatment can control its spread. The cancer can even go into remission in some places. This means you have fewer signs and symptoms of cancer.

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Discontinuation of treatment may be considered in certain situations, even if remission occurs or someone experiences intolerable side effects. Interrupting treatment can help you feel better and improve your quality of life.

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What is the pain of breast cancer?

Breast cancer can cause changes in skin cells that cause pain, tenderness, and discomfort in the breast. Although breast cancer is usually painless, it's important not to ignore any signs or symptoms that breast cancer can cause. Some people describe the pain as a burning sensation.

Ovarian ablation or suppression

When breast cancer is incurable - Mayo Clinic

In women who have not yet reached menopause, the ovaries produce estrogen.

Ablation or suppression of the ovaries prevents the ovaries from working and producing estrogen.

The ablation can be performed through surgery or radiation therapy. It permanently stops the functioning of the ovaries and means that you will enter menopause prematurely.

Ovarian suppression involves the use of a drug called goserelin, which is a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist.

Your periods will stop while you are taking it, although they should start again after stopping treatment.

If you are approaching menopause, your period may not come back after you stop taking goserelin.

Goserelin is given as an injection once a month.

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Death rates compared to the number of deaths from breast cancer

Sometimes it's helpful to have an estimate of the number of people likely to die from breast cancer in a year. These numbers help show the burden of breast cancer in a group of people.

However, the figures are difficult to compare. To compare mortality in different populations, we need to look at mortality rates, not the number of deaths from breast cancer.

How fast does breast cancer grow?

Breast cancer must divide 30 times before it can be felt. Until the 28th cell division, neither you nor your doctor can detect it manually. In most breast cancers, each division lasts one to two months; So when you feel a cancerous lump, the cancer has been in your body for two to five years.

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What is stage 3 breast cancer?

Also known as locally advanced breast cancer, in this stage of breast cancer the tumor is more than 2 inches in diameter and the cancer is extensive in the forearm lymph nodes or has spread to other lymph nodes or tissues near the armpit. Stage 3 breast cancer is a more advanced form of invasive breast cancer. At this stage, cancer cells generally have not spread to more distant locations in the body, but are present in multiple axillary lymph nodes. The tumor can also be quite large at this stage, possibly extending to the chest wall or skin of the breast.

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Stage 3 breast cancer is divided into three categories:

Etapa 3A: One of the following statements is true:

  • No tumor is found in the breast, but the cancer is present in the axillary lymph nodes, which are attached to other or different structures, or the cancer can be found in the lymph nodes near the breastbone, or
  • The tumor is 2 cm or smaller. The cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes that are connected to each other or to other structures, or the cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes near the breastbone, or
  • The tumor is 2 cm to 4 cm in size. The cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes that are connected to each other or to other structures, or the cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes near the breastbone, or
  • The tumor is larger than 5 cm. The cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, which may be connected to each other or to other structures, or the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Level 3C:

Stage 4 clinical manifestations

How long can you live with breast cancer without treatment? (2)

The main symptoms of stage 4 breast cancer are spread to distant organs or lymph nodes. Also, tumor size is no longer important at this stage, it can no longer be detected at the primary site.

It is the metastases that most often develop in the liver, lungs and bones that provide information about the development of the oncological process. They are painful and cause vivid symptoms. Liver metastases cause jaundice and increase abdominal volume. Metastases in the lungs cause shortness of breath and in the bones severe pain and frequent fractures.

  • severe intoxication

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loss of appetite and weight loss

Sometimes people with secondary breast cancer cannot eat as much as usual, making it difficult for them to maintain their weight and fuel their bodies. Low energy levels can affect mobility and make it difficult to control symptoms like shortness of breath.

Loss of appetite can be due to the effects of cancer, treatment, or anxiety. A small number of people may have difficulty swallowing.

You may find it easier to eat little and often than meal prep. If you still feel like you're not eating enough, are losing weight, or aren't interested in eating, talk to your doctor or nurse about dietary supplements, or seek expert advice from a registered dietitian.

In certain circumstances, medication may be prescribed to stimulate your appetite.

What affects survival

Your outlook depends on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. It means how big it is and how far it spreads.

The type of cancer and the grade of cancer cells can also affect your survival. Grade means how abnormal the cells look under a microscope.

Your overall health and fitness also affect survival; The fitter you are, the better you can handle cancer and treatment.

Another factor that can affect survival is whether the cancer cells have receptors for certain anticancer drugs.

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What is a 5?

Arelative survival ratecompares women with the same type and stage of breast cancer to women in the general population. If for example theRelative 5-year survival ratefor a given stage of breast cancer is 90%, this means that women who have that cancer are, on average, 90% more likely to live at least 5 years after diagnosis than women who don't have that cancer.

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What is secondary breast cancer in the lungs?

How long can you live after breast cancer treatment? - DR Nanda Rajaneesh

Secondary lung breast cancer occurs when breast cancer cells spread to the lungs. It can also be called pulmonary or secondary metastasis to the lungs.

Secondary breast cancer in the lungs is not the same as cancer that started in the lungs.

Secondary breast cancer usually occurs months or years after the primary breast cancer. But it is sometimes found at the same time as the primary breast cancer or before the diagnosis of the primary breast cancer. In this situation, the breast cancer has already spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs. This is called de novo metastatic breast cancer, meaning that the breast cancer has initially metastasized.

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Dilemmas in stage IV breast cancer

In fact, there are many serious and personal issues associated with stage IV breast cancer. Hence overall survivalnot lessprobably and unfortunately, the benefits of intensive breast cancer treatment are quite largemodest. A serious consideration is therefore the quality of life during treatment.

These decisions are usually a dynamic process based on individual cases between patients and doctors. Treatment expectations, disease status and patient wishes must be respected.

Exercise and secondary breast cancer in the lungs

Some people with secondary breast cancer in the lungs have no symptoms, while others have a combination of pain, nausea, loss of appetite, hiccups, tiredness, and fatigue. While physical activity can help relieve some symptoms, it's important to listen to your body and not try too hard. Gentle, regular activity like walking is often most effective.

If you are currently being treated you may need to train at a slightly lower level. Stop if it hurts or if you feel like you're working too hard.

When choosing your workout, try to focus on aerobic activities like walking, swimming, or cycling. Activities such as dancing and gardening can also be beneficial. You can also include some light toning or conditioning exercises like stretching or low-impact yoga. The most important thing is to choose something that you are sure to enjoy.

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Relative survival rate by stage

Survival rates by stage are based on stage at diagnosis. You've probably been given a number and letter for the stage of your cancer. Instead of numbers and letters, the terms localized, regional and remote are used here. Here's what they mean and the relative 5-year survival rates for each:

  • Localized breast cancer is only in the breast. These include stage IA, some IIA and some IIB. The relative 5-year survival rate is 99%.
  • Regional breast cancer has spread to adjacent tissues orlymph nodes. These include stage IB, some IIA, some IIB and all stages III. The relative 5-year survival rate is 86%.
  • Distant breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This includes stage IV, pronounced stage 4). The relative 5-year survival rate is 28%.

Myth #: When it's early

How long can you live with breast cancer without treatment? (3)

Ninety percent of MBC diagnoses occur in people who have already been treated for early-stage breast cancer. Many people are under the impression that being cancer free for 5 years means no recurrence of metastases can occur. However, distant recurrences can occur several years or even decades after initial diagnosis. Factors such as the original size of the tumor and the number of lymph nodes involved can help predict the risk of recurrence.

For example, a 2017 survey of 88 studies involving nearly 63,000 women diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive early-stage breast cancer found that the risk of distant recurrence at 20 years ranged from 13% to 41%. tumor and lymph. lymph node involvement.1

As KatyK from Idaho comments: You are cured if you do not have cancer 5 years after your initial diagnosis. I fell in love with her myself. When I was diagnosed with MBC 12 years after the initial diagnosis, I was shocked. I thought I was cured, which means a lot better to me. NO! I'm not even sure what cured means.

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Plans must be flexible

My energy is unpredictable, says Sendelbach. I literally never know how I'm going to feel from one day to the next. It's so hard to make plans because after two weeks if I say yes to something I might wake up and feel absolutely awful.

If someone with metastatic breast cancer declines an invitation or cancels at the last minute, it's probably not because they don't want to be there. Sendelbach says we can't do it physically.

Silberman agrees. I'm going through a long journey, he says, and some friends have left. I have a hard time trusting myself because of MBC and my treatments.


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