Stage 4 Breast Cancer Definition

Dr. Jay Harness explains what stage 4 breast cancer is and what patients can expect when diagnosed with a stage 4 breast cancer.

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Jay K. Harness, MD: Stage 4 breast cancer by definition means that the cancer has gone some place else in the body, meaning that it has gone away from just the breast and the lymph node itself and gone elsewhere with in the body.  The possibilities of where stage 4 has gone includes certainly the bones, it can include liver, can include lung, it can include brain.  Occasionally, the cancer can actually go to organs down in the patient’s abdomen.  So stage 4 breast cancer has multiple sort of approaches to it.  Clearly in most cases of stage 4 breast cancer we are going to go to chemotherapy first.  There are some exceptions to that where we do anti-hormonal therapy first and then we may continue the chemotherapy and/or anti-hormonal therapy over longer periods of time.  One of the concepts here with the treatment of stage 4 breast cancer is of course to improve quality of life, to provide pain relief, to make the patient as symptom free as we can, to also extend the life as long as we possibly can, to build a bridge of time and so that hopefully newer things are going to become available to us down the road.  I have at breast cancer answers more than one video about a stage 4 breast cancer that includes not only my comments but also the comments of my esteemed medical oncologists.  So I am going to also suggest in addition to watching this video that you please go to breast cancer answers which is www.breastcanceranswers.com.

Dr. Jay K. Harness is a board certified surgeon currently treating patients at St. Joesph Hospital in Orange, CA. Dr. Harness specializes in complete breast health, breast cancer surgery, oncoplastic reconstruction, genetic screening, management of breast health issues, risk assessment and counseling. Dr. Harness is the medical director for Breast Cancer Answers.com, and guides this first ever social media show’s information by drawing on his former leadership experience as the President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1969 and spent time early on in his career at the University of Michigan Medical Center.
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