What is secondary breast cancer?

Breast cancer usually begins as a lump in the breast. This is primary breast cancer. Cancer cells can break away from the primary site and spread to other organs via the bloodstream or lymphatic system. These cells create a secondary cancer or metastasis in the new location but continue to look and behave like breast cancer cells. As a result they are treated in the same way as breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer.

About one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. There's a good chance of recovery if it's detected in its early stages.

In rare cases, men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer.


What are the symptoms that may indicate you have breast cancer?

Breast cancer can have a number of symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.

Most breast lumps aren't cancerous, but it's always best to have them checked by your doctor.

You should also see your GP if you notice any of the following:

  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • discharge from either of your nipples, which may be streaked with blood
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  • a rash on or around your nipple
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Breast pain isn't usually a symptom of breast cancer.


What treatments are available?

The treatments for breast cancer are:

You may have one of these treatments, or a combination. The type or combination of treatments you have will depend on how the cancer was diagnosed and the stage it's at.

The consultant diagnostic and interventional radiologists at Christie Oncology Imaging will be able to provide diagnostic CTPET/CT and MRI scans which will help to diagnose, stage monitor breast cancer response to surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. We also provide US/CT guided biopsy to obtain tissue samples which will help to tailor chemotherapy and other treatments to specific tumour characteristics. We may be able to offer an interventional oncology procedure such as biliary procedureliver vascular procedure (SIRT, TACE), and percutaneous ablation.


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