Does stage four still mean "get your affairs in order"
The best stage four breast cancer treatment varies from person to person, depending on many factors. Things like health insurance coverage, tolerance for the treatment side effects and availability of treatments will affect what options of a person with fourth stage breast cancer. Various forms of chemotherapy, hormone treatments and targeted therapies are the primary treatments used in stage four breast cancer patients. Remission during stage four is rare and the treatments are still not an exact science.
What Can Be Done for Patients in the Final Stages of Cancer?
Those who are standing in the shoes of a stage four breast cancer patient are surely wondering what the best stage four breast cancer treatments are. Fourth stage breast cancer is where the cancerous cells (malignant cells) from the breast tissue have metastasized to other parts of the chest including the lungs, liver and/or bones. It also means that the cancer has evolved to the point where a person’s rate of survival is drastically cut down to below 20%. Remission during stage four breast cancers is rare but possible in less than 3% of patients.
The best stage four breast cancer treatments will depend heavily upon the medical insurance coverage you have. In many unfortunate situations, a person and their survival rate will be negatively affected due to not having enough or proper medical coverage. For this reason and many others having to do with treatment availability, many fourth stage breast cancer patients have limited options for treatments. The most commonly covered and utilized treatment is chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy Side Effects
- Loss of hair a.k.a. alopecia
- Loss of pigment (pale skin)
- Increased fatigue
- Loss of hearing
- Weakened immune system
- Problems with forming blood clots
- Anemia due to low amounts of red blood cells
- Inflamed mucous membrane
- Thinning hair and nails
- No appetite
- Loss of sex drive and ability to be fertile
- Constipation and/or Diarrhea
- Suicidal thoughts stemming from depression
- Various cognitive issues: attention span changes, loss of recent memory, and basic reasoning/judgment abilities
All therapies typically used for treating breast cancer including chemotherapy. Hormone and targeted therapies have hazardous side effects that most patients often describe as unbearable. Some patients think these methods are the best stage four breast cancer treatments one could ask for. In one to three percent of cases, the patient could end up going into complete remission during stage four but the occurrence of such a miracle is, and always will be, statistically rare. Additionally, other, more experimental, methods of treating stage four breast cancers are not approved for use within the United States but are approved for use in Europe. Stage four breast cancer is considered critical and taking measures into your own hands is sometimes the only option left.