Breast cancer is divided into five main stages, 0 through IV. The stages are based on the size of the tumor, the number of lymph nodes involved, and how much the cancer has spread. When breast cancer spreads or becomes worse, this is known as progression.
Metastatic breast cancer refers to a cancer that has spread beyond the area of the breast, but into distant organs and tissues. ‘Locally advanced breast cancer’ or Stage III breast cancer means the cancer has spread locally in the area of the breast. The most serious of the five possible stages are stages III and IV.
Today, there is an absence of definitive prognostic statistics and resources for those living with metastatic breast cancer. Every patient and their disease is unique so treatment for metastatic breast cancer is life long and focuses on control of the disease and quality of life.