Secondary Breast Cancer

Breast cancer starts as a lump in the breast – this is known as “primary” breast cancer.

“Secondary” breast cancer is the term used to describe breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast or axilla (armpit) to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs or brain. If the breast cancer cells spread to the bones for example, it is known as “secondary or metastatic breast cancer of the bones”.

Secondary breast cancer is also known as “metastatic breast cancer”, “stage 4 breast cancer”, or “advanced breast cancer”.

Secondary breast cancer is often diagnosed years after a primary breast cancer, however, for some patients, secondary breast cancer is their first diagnosis of breast cancer.

In the UK, there are around 35,000 people living with secondary breast cancer and although secondary breast cancer cannot be cured, the aim of treatment is to control further spread of the disease and for many, this can be done for a number of years.

In 2018, we joined together with the two leading breast cancer charities at the time and our patients to identify what they felt mattered most to them. The outcomes helped us identify some important patient-led improvement goals that we then implemented into our daily practice ensuring that our patients at Warwick Hospital, received the highest standard of care and support.

All patients with secondary breast cancer (SBC), will be cared for by a Consultant Oncologist and will have access to a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS).

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