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Metastatic breast cancer diagnosis and treatment

In case it is evaluated on the basis of the biological characteristics of breast cancer and the so-called risk factors that the cancer could have spread or metastasized, accurate metastasis examinations will be performed before the final treatment decision.

Metastatic breast cancer means that the cancer has already sent metastases to other parts of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain. In practice, cancer cells can spread to any organ in the body.  In case it is evaluated on the basis of the biological characteristics of breast cancer and the so-called risk factors that the cancer could have spread or metastasized, accurate metastasis examination will be performed before the final treatment decision.

In order to assess the stage of breast cancer, Docrates Cancer Center uses the most advanced technology and cutting-edge equipment, such as CT, MRI, SPECT-CT and PET-CT imaging equipment. At Docrates, the treatment of metastatic breast cancer is always customised individually, utilising the expertise of the multidisciplinary team of physicians.

Metastasis examinations of breast cancer

The need for metastasis examinations of breast cancer is determined on the basis of the characteristics of the removed tumor, the potential presence of axillary lymph node metastases, and symptoms. The most traditional metastasis examination of breast cancer is a CT scan (computer tomography scan) of the body. In some cases, the examination can be complemented by MRI. At Docrates Cancer Center, even the advanced FDG and NaF-PET-CT techniques are available. They are used case by case. Today, the NaF-PET-CT examination often replaces a bone scan.

In order to establish the presence of cancer and to determine its biological subtype, a tissue sample of the metastases is collected. When the disease spreads, the subtype may change, which in turn can influence the choice of treatment when it comes to e.g. hormonal therapy or treatment of HER2 positive cancers.

Treatment of metastatic breast cancer

The treatment of metastatic breast cancer is always customised individually, while the choice of treatments and the expected treatment response depend on various factors, such as the biological characteristics of the tumour, previous treatments, treatment outcome and adverse effects, the general condition of the patient, symptoms and other potential illnesses. The most important biological factors guiding the planned treatment include estrogen and progesterone receptor levels (hormone receptor levels) as well as HER2-gene expression.

The options available for metastatic breast cancer treatment include drug therapy, radiotherapy and sometimes even surgery. In recent years, new effective and well tolerated and targeted drugs have been developed for the treatment of breast cancer. In the treatment of metastatic breast cancer it is also important to weigh the potential benefits against the side effects caused by the treatment.

Prognosis of metastatic breast cancer

Only a few percent of Finnish breast cancer patients are initially diagnosed with metastatic disease. However, breast cancer may recur later in the form of metastatic breast cancer. Currently, it is understood that breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and the nearby lymph nodes is almost always an incurable disease, but with an effective treatment it is possible to achieve a good treatment response for many years. The aim of treatment for advanced cancer is to stop or slow the spreading of the cancer, which will also reduce potential symptoms.

Multidisciplinary team is in charge of effective breast cancer care

In the care of metastatic breast cancer, discussion of treatment options with an oncologist immediately after the diagnosis has been ascertained as well as seamless collaboration between the experienced care team members are both of utmost importance. On the basis of reliable tests, our experienced specialists can determine each patient’s suitability for new treatments without delay, whereupon they can make an individual treatment plan for the given patient.

At Docrates Cancer Center, a multidisciplinary team is in charge of isotope examinations and treatments used in the metastasis examinations of breast cancer. This team includes e.g. an experienced radiologist specialising in cancer imaging, as well as a specialist in nuclear medicine. This guarantees an uninterruptible and instantaneous dialogue between the imaging experts and attending physicians.

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Why come to Docrates Cancer Center?

  • Top cancer experts and effective treatments without delay.
  • Individual care. You have your own care team - your doctor and your nurse.
  • Front line cancer treatment. Latest medical technology combined with proven expertise in cancer care.
  • Experience in treating international patients from over 60 countries. Multilingual personnel.
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