How long do breast cancer cells live


In women with hormone-positive breast cancer, in which the tumor reacts well to hormone therapy, life expectancy can be 10-15 years, even taking into account the 4th stage of the disease. For comparison, the life expectancy of patients with metastatic

Metastatic Cancer

Metastatic involvement of the bone is one of the most frequent causes of pain in cancer patients

triple-negative breast cancer is only one year. What Are Cancer Survival Statistics

5-year relative survival rates for breast cancer
SEER Stage 5-year Relative Survival Rate
Localized* 99%
Regional 86%
Distant 29%
All SEER stages combined 90%
Mar 1, 2022


What are the 4 stages of breast cancer?

  • Stage 0, known as carcinoma in situ, means cancer cells are present but have been caught so early that they haven’t spread. …
  • Stage 1 means the tumor is very small and either has not spread or may have a tiny bit of spread in a nearby lymph node. …
  • Stage 2 means the tumor is larger than at stage 1 and may have spread to a few nearby lymph nodes. …

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What is the survival rate of breast cancer?

“Five year survival rates for stage one breast cancer are actually around 100 per cent but the moment we get to metastatic cancers, they become much harder to treat. And the survival rate plummets significantly for these to around 32 per cent,” she said.

Can you die from Stage 3 breast cancer?

The short answer is yes, unfortunately. The odds of surviving are in your favor, however. If you have stage III breast cancer, you have a 28% chance of dying five years after diagnosis, according to recent U.S. statistics.

What are the signs of Stage 4 breast cancer?

The Symptoms of Stage 4 Breast Cancer

  • Breast lump. In the early stages of cancer, tumors are typically too small to be seen or felt. …
  • Skin changes. Some types of breast cancer result in skin changes. …
  • Nipple discharge. …
  • Swelling. …
  • Breast discomfort and pain. …
  • Fatigue. …
  • Insomnia. …
  • Stomach upset, loss of appetite, and weight loss. …
  • Shortness of breath. …
  • Symptoms associated with the spread of the cancer. …

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How long does it take for breast cancer cells to spread?

Each division takes about 1 to 2 months, so a detectable tumor has likely been growing in the body for 2 to 5 years. Generally speaking, the more cells divide, the bigger the tumor grows.

Is breast cancer ever completely cured?

‘Cured’ means there’s no chance of the breast cancer coming back. However, it’s not possible to be sure that breast cancer will never come back. Treatment for breast cancer will be successful for most people, and the risk of recurrence gets less as time goes on.

Can breast cancer develop in 6 months?

Breast cancer has to divide 30 times before it can be felt. Up to the 28th cell division, neither you nor your doctor can detect it by hand. With most breast cancers, each division takes one to two months, so by the time you can feel a cancerous lump, the cancer has been in your body for two to five years.

Do cancer cells ever go away?

A cure means that the cancer has gone away with treatment, no more treatment is needed, and the cancer is not expected to come back. It’s rare that a doctor can be sure that cancer will never come back. In most cases it takes time to know if the cancer might come back.

What type of breast cancer is most curable?

Ductal Carcinoma. About 1 in 5 people who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer have DCIS. This type is very curable.

Can you live 30 years after breast cancer?

Many people survive for years or even decades after getting a breast cancer diagnosis and receiving treatment. Typically, the earlier a doctor diagnoses and treats the condition, the better a person’s outlook. Regular follow-up appointments are important for monitoring a person’s health after breast cancer treatment.

How long can you have breast cancer without knowing?

Breast cancer has to divide 30 times before it can be felt. Up to the 28th cell division, neither you nor your doctor can detect it by hand. With most breast cancers, each division takes one to two months, so by the time you can feel a cancerous lump, the cancer has been in your body for two to five years.

Where does breast cancer spread first?

The lymph nodes under your arm, inside your breast, and near your collarbone are among the first places breast cancer spreads. It’s “metastatic” if it spreads beyond these small glands to other parts of your body.

What are the signs that breast cancer has spread?

Symptoms if cancer has spread to the lungsa cough that doesn’t go away.shortness of breath.ongoing chest infections.weight loss.chest pain.coughing up blood.a build up of fluid between the chest wall and the lung (a pleural effusion)

How do you starve a tumor?

With this plan, you skip added sugar, grains, beans, dairy, soy, and processed foods for 30 days. You replace them with more vegetables, eggs, seafood, meat, fruit, and nuts and seeds.

What type breast cancer has the highest recurrence rate?

Research suggests that estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer is more likely to come back more than five years after diagnosis.

Does stress cause cancer to return?

Study Suggests a Link between Stress and Cancer Coming Back. Stress hormones can alter the behavior of some neutrophils, potentially causing dormant cancer cells to reawaken, a study suggests. For many cancer survivors, their worst nightmare is finding out that their cancer has come back.

Does breast cancer always come back?

Most breast cancers don’t come back after treatment, but it’s very common to worry about breast cancer returning. If breast cancer does come back, it’s known as recurrence. It’s important to know what signs and symptoms to look out for.

What percentage of breast cancer is cured?

5-year relative survival rates for breast cancerSEER Stage5-year Relative Survival RateLocalized*99%Regional86%Distant29%All SEER stages combined90%Mar 1, 2022

Can you live a long life after breast cancer?

Survival for all stages of breast cancer Around 85 out of every 100 women (around 85%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. Around 75 out of every 100 women (around 75%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis.

When are you considered cancer free after breast cancer?

The cancer may come back to the same place as the original primary tumor or to another place in the body. If you remain in complete remission for five years or more, some doctors may say that you are cured, or cancer-free.

What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Metastatic Breast Cancer

If youve been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, ask your provider:

What Tumor Factors Threaten My Life More

There are important tumor biology factors not well reflected in survival statistics by breast cancer stage. Below we list a few important factors that carry a higher risk to life beyond just the stage of cancer. You must ask your surgeon or medical oncologist to explain your receptor status and give you a copy of your biopsy pathology report.

Probability Of Cancer Progression

How long the remission period can last is one of the most frequently asked questions by patients with stage 4 breast cancer. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors that come in.

What Are Cancer Survival Statistics

A key part of making a prognosis is looking at survival rates. These are numbers researchers collect over many years in people with the same type of cancer. These numbers are based on large groups of people. For breast cancer, there are two main measurements:

Treatment Of Stage Iii Breast Cancers

Sometimes large breast cancers invade into muscles or attach to major arteries, veins or nerve trunks, which makes them impossible to surgically remove completely.

Can Metastatic Breast Cancer Go Into Remission

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

What Does The Pain Feel Like When You Have Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can cause changes in skin cells that lead to feelings of pain, tenderness, and discomfort in the breast. Although breast cancer is often painless, it is important not to ignore any signs or symptoms that could be due to breast cancer. Some people may describe the pain as a burning sensation.

Complete Loss Of Consciousness

At the end of life, the chemical balance of the body becomes completely upset. The dying person then slips into unconsciousness. This is usually right towards the end, maybe only a few hours or days before death.

How Your Breast Lift Changes Over Time

Breast lift surgery or mastopexy can enhance the appearance of sagging breasts to restore their youthful look. If your breasts have lost their position due to aging, weight fluctuations, or postpartum effects, a breast lift can help you achieve your ideal figure.

Why Does My Provider Need To Test The Metastatic Tumor

Your care team will test the metastases to figure out the biology of the tumor, which can help guide your treatment plan. Providers may test tumors for:

When Is The Right Time To Use Hospice Care

Many people believe that hospice care is only appropriate in the last days or weeks of life. Yet Medicare states that it can be used as much as 6 months before death is anticipated. And those who have lost loved ones say that they wish they had called in hospice care sooner.

Avoid Extensive Sun Exposure

To maintain your breast lift results for longer, it is imperative that you avoid sun damage. Prolonged exposure to sun rays can cause your skin to form wrinkles, lose its elasticity, and look older than its years. All of this can affect the appearance of your breasts. To steer clear of these risks, use sunscreen and avoid extensive sunbathing.

Can Metastatic Breast Cancer Go Into Remission

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

How You Might Feel

You are likely to feel some very strong emotions during the time your relative or friend is dying. You might feel that you want to try and change what is happening. Often all you can do is give them a lot of support and comfort during this difficult time.

How long does it take to live with metastatic breast cancer?

The overall five-year survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is reported as 27% by the National Cancer Institute looking at data from 2008 to 2014. This same rate is 22% as reported by the American Cancer Society, with the median survival time (the amount of time after which 50% of people are still alive and 50% have passed away) at three years.

What is the goal of breast cancer?

With early-stage breast cancer, the goal is usually to be aggressive in order to reduce the risk that the cancer will come back. In contrast, with stage 4 disease, the goal is usually to use the minimum amount of treatment possible to control the disease (at least at the current time).

What is aggressive treatment for breast cancer?

The goal of treatment for metastatic breast cancer is often very different than that of early-stage disease, and this can raise anxiety among patients and loved ones of patients .

What do people learn about cancer?

Common things that people learn about cancer usually refer to an early-stage disease, and myths about metastatic breast cancer can be painful for those living with advanced disease. For example, one of the things not to say to someone with metastatic breast cancer is, “When will you be done with treatment?”

What are the symptoms of stage 4 breast cancer?

Coping with the many symptoms that can occur with stage 4 breast cancer can be frustrating and discouraging, and people sometimes wonder if they will have to feel poorly the rest of their lives. Anxiety and depression are also severe for some people with advanced disease.

Where are breast cancer metastases?

Location of metastases: Breast cancer metastases to bones are associated with a higher survival rate than metastases to other regions such as the lungs, liver, and brain. Treatment choices: This includes treatment of oligometastases.

Is stage 4 breast cancer curable?

At the same time, it’s important to understand that stage 4 breast cancer isn’t curable. It can be helpful to look at current statistics and consider the many variables that affect life expectancy. While it’s important not to raise false hope, it may help to know the reality that there are some long-term survivors.

How long does it take for breast cancer to start?

This is never easy to answer. Some experts suggest that it’s likely that many tumors begin a minimum of five years before they are detected. 1

Which type of cancer tends to grow more quickly than other types of breast cancer?

The type of cancer: Inflammatory breast cancer tends to grow much more quickly than other types of breast cancer.

When Can Breast Cancer First Be Detected?

The earlier a breast cancer is found, the greater the chance it can be cured. This is what makes routine mammogram screening and self-breast exams so important.

Why do breast tumors grow faster in women?

Menopausal state: Breast tumors often grow more rapidly in women before menopause than they do in postmenopausal women. This is likely due to estrogen in the body.

What factors affect the growth of breast cancer cells?

A number of factors, such as age or having a history of hormone replacement therapy, can influence the growth rate of breast cancer cells. This is important when thinking about whether a breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs, or has not spread at all. The type of breast cancer also matters because some can spread more quickly and do so with tumors that are still relatively small.

What is the term for the time it takes for a tumor to double in size?

Tumor doubling time is the period of time that it takes for the tumor to double in size. Since it would be unethical to leave a cancer untreated to see how rapidly it grew, doubling time is estimated in a number of ways. Looking at these estimates, however, doubling times have varied widely from study to study.

How does cancer start?

Cancer begins when a normal breast cell undergoes a number of mutations in genes that control the growth of the cell. These mutations may occur over a long period of time, even decades, before a cancer cell forms. A cancer cell must divide on average 30 times before it forms a mass that can be felt in the breast.

How do cancer cells become dormant?

Buczacki says there are several explanations for why a cell might stop dividing, the first being it simply runs out of divisions.Thanks to years of evolution, normal cells have inbuilt checks that count and control the number of times they can multiply. It’s a safety mechanism that’s often disrupted in cancer cells but, if present, it can trigger a cell to become dormant.

What happens when cancer cells are stuck in a state?

Cancer cells can also be pushed into becoming more specialised cells – like breast or bowel cells – and become stuck in that state (a process known as terminal differentiation), stopping them from dividing.

What is the other option for cancer?

The other option is to wake the cancer cells up . Buczacki says scientists have been trying to force dormant cells to divide again, which would mean they’d respond to traditional drugs like chemotherapy.

How to kill dormant cells?

The first is to kill them while they sleep, by targeting something unique on the surface of dormant cancer cells. The other option is to wake the cancer cells up.

Why does cancer come back after diagnosis?

And this could be because some cancer cells enter into a hibernation-like state, called ‘dormancy’.

How do scientists understand cell behaviour?

To understand cell behaviour, scientists rely on tools that measure some sort of activity in the cells they’re studying. For cancer cells, that’s mainly been studying how they grow and divide.

Can cancer come back after surgery?

Although many people are successfully treated by their initial surgery and chemotherapy, for an unfortunate few cancer can come back many years later. And Buczacki says this is likely due to dormant cells.

How long does it take to live with breast cancer?

Although it is difficult to assess the progress of cancer over the course of 1 year, the American Cancer Society provide estimates about the 5-year survival rates for people at different stages of breast cancer.

What is the survival rate for breast cancer?

The 5-year survival rate refers to the number of people who will live for 5 years after finding out that they have breast cancer: close to 100 percent for stages 0 and 1. 93 percent for stage 2. 72 percent for stage 3. 22 percent for stage 4. These figures are population estimates.

How fast can breast cancer spread?

Metastasis occurs when breast cancer cells begin to grow in another body part.

How does breast cancer occur?

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

What is ductal carcinoma in situ?

Ductal carcinoma in situ is a form of stage 0 breast cancer. Stage 1. Breast cancer at this stage is invasive, but it remains small and near the primary site. Stage 1A involves tumors that are 2 centimeters or smaller and have not reached the lymph nodes. At stage 1B, the cancer has reached the lymph nodes.

Why is it hard to estimate the speed of cancer growth?

It is hard to estimate cancer growth because not all cancer cells multiply and divide at the same speed.

Where does breast cancer most likely metastasize?

Breast cancer is most likely to metastasize to the lymph nodes, lungs, and bones.

How long does it take to live with breast cancer?

According to some research, the 5-year survival rate is about 23%. Trusted Source. for MBC. However, without treatment, breast cancer that metastasizes to the liver can cause a person’s survival time to drop to around 4–8 months.

How many women have breast cancer?

Metavivor, an organization dedicated to researching MBC, states that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Of those, about 1 in 3 will experience metastasis. For men, about 1 out of 1,000 will develop breast cancer during their life, but under 2% will experience metastasis. The liver is the third most common area …

What is MBC in cancer?

What is it? MBC is a late stage of cancer that starts in a person’s breast tissue. When breast cancer metastasizes, it means that its tissue spreads to distant organs, such as the liver, brain, or bones. When MBC spreads to another organ, such as the liver, the diagnosis is still breast cancer.

What is metastatic breast cancer?

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) occurs when breast cancer spreads outside of the breasts to another part of the body, such as the liver. Approximately 30% of people who receive a diagnosis of early stage breast cancer will go on to develop metastatic, or stage 4, breast cancer.

What happens if a tumor metastasizes?

If it metastasizes, doctors use medication to help control the cancer and slow its growth, which increases life expectancy.

Can breast cancer be detected on a liver function test?

Breast cancer that spreads to the liver does not usually cause any symptoms. A doctor is more likely to find the cancer on a liver function test. The liver function test uses a blood sample to determine the level of liver enzymes and proteins in the blood.

Does MBC increase lifespan?

Treatment can also help increase the person’s lifespan. Treatment for MBC may not be as aggressive as it is in the earlier stages of breast cancer. In the earlier stages of breast cancer, doctors try to remove or destroy the cancer altogether.



There are a number of factors that may increase or decrease the length of survival for someone who has stage 4 breast cancer. However, there are many exceptions to these general rules. Some people who have a very poor prognosis survive many years or decades, while others with an excellent prognosis may live for a shorter ti…

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Survival Rates

  • The overall five-year survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is reported as 27% by the National Cancer Institute looking at data from 2008 to 2014. This same rate is 22% as reported by the American Cancer Society, with the median survival time (the amount of time after which 50% of people are still alive and 50% have passed away) at three years.

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Long-Term Survivors

  • Being a long term survivor is usually defined as living five or more years beyond a diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer. Living 10 or more years isn’t unheard of, and the 10-year survival ratefor primary or “de novo” metastatic breast cancer is around 13%. (This rate is based on de novo cases or cases in which stage 4 was the initial diagnosis.)

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  • Coping with stage 4 breast cancer is challenging, and it is very different than coping with early-stage disease. For those who originally faced early-stage breast cancer, not only do they need to face cancer again but this time they aren’t dealing with a disease that can potentially be cured. Metastatic breast cancer often comes with more symptoms as well, such as bone pain due to b…

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A Word from Verywell

  • In talking about statistics, it’s important to know that people aren’t statistics. Even with factors that may increase or decrease the prognosis, survival is very variable between different people.

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