Where Breast Cancer Can Spread?

November 3, 2020

When Cancer Overtakes Your Breasts
If your doctor tells you that your breast cancer has spread to other parts of your body, it’s at a later stage than if it has only spread in your breasts. When your doctor tells you the “stage” of your cancer, how far it has spread is one of the things he or she will consider. If it has spread far from your breast, it is considered “metastatic”. Every case is different. For some women, it becomes something they’ve lived with for a long time. For others, focusing on pain management and quality of life is the main goal.

Most common sites of transmission
Even in other organs, it is breast cancer. For example, if breast cancer spreads to your lungs, it doesn’t mean you have lung cancer. While it can spread to any part of your body, there are some places it’s most likely to go, including the lymph nodes, bones, liver, lungs, and brain.

lymph nodes
The lymph nodes under the arms, in the breast, and near the collarbone are the first places where breast cancer spreads. If it spreads to other parts of the body beyond these small glands, it is “metastatic.” When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor should examine the lymph nodes near the tumor to see if they are affected. The lymphatic system helps expel bacteria and other harmful things from your body. If your breast cancer is in one of these nodes, you may not notice symptoms.


When breast cancer is in your bones, pain is usually the first symptom. It can affect any bone, including the spine, arms, and legs. Sometimes, the bones may be weak enough to break, but treatment can usually prevent this. If the cancer involves your spine, it can also cause problems with incontinence or going to the toilet. You may also have numbness or weakness in your body, like in an arm or part of a leg. This happens when pressure is put on the nerves in your spinal cord.

If the breast cancer spreads to the liver, you may have abdominal pain that doesn’t go away, or you may feel bloated or full. You may also have a loss of appetite and weight loss. You may notice yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes, which is called jaundice. This happens because your liver is not working properly.

Breast cancer can spread to the lungs or the space between the lungs and the chest wall, causing fluid to build up around the lungs. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, a persistent cough and chest pain. In some people, loss of appetite leads to weight loss.

Breast cancer has the potential to spread to the brain. This may cause headaches, causing you to lose your balance and fall more easily. You may have numbness or weakness in one part of your body. You may act differently, or you may feel confused or have seizures.

You may need surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and medication. The medications your doctor recommends will depend on the type of breast cancer you have. For example, if your breast cancer is HER2-positive, in which a certain protein drives growth, your doctor may choose targeted therapy as part of your treatment. Pain management is also key so that you can feel as good as possible.