Giving hope to those affected
by secondary breast cancer

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Sites of Secondary Breast Cancer

Secondary breast cancer usually affects the following parts of the body. 

In the brain. In the lungs. In the skin. In the liver. In the bone.

In the Bone  /  In the Brain  /  In the Liver  /  In the Lungs  /  In the Skin


Secondary Breast Cancer in the Bone

When breast cancer cells spread to the bone it is commonly referred to as bone metastases or bone mets. The primary cancer cells that have spread to the bones are breast cancer cells, this is not the same as having cancer that originates in the bone. The bone is one of the most common sites for secondary breast cancer, with the bones that are most commonly affected:

  • Arms and Legs (in particular the upper areas)
  • Pelvis
  • Ribs
  • Skull
  • Spine

If you have any concerns regarding symptoms you should contact your GP or local medical centre. 


Secondary Breast Cancer in the Brain

When breast cancer cells spread to the brain it can be commonly known as brain metastases or brain mets. On occasion secondary breast cancer can spread to the tissues (membranes) that surround the brain and the spinal cord. This is referred to as leptomeningeal metastases. Symptoms of secondary breast cancer which has spread to the brain can include:

  • A feeling of weakness or numbness on one side of your body
  • Behavioural changes
  • Confusion
  • Headaches that are not relieved with pain medication.
  • Losing your balance and feeling unsteady
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea and/or being sick
  • Seizures
  • Speech difficulties

If you have any concerns regarding symptoms you should contact your GP or local medical centre. 

Secondary Breast Cancer in the Liver

When breast cancer cells spread to the liver it is referred to a liver metastases or liver mets. The primary cancer cells that have spread to the liver are breast cancer cells, this is not the same as cancer of the liver. Symptoms of secondary breast cancer which has spread to the liver can include:

  • Ascites (a build-up of fluid within your stomach area)
  • Feeling itchy
  • Hiccups
  • Jaundice (a yellow tint to the skin)
  • Generally feeling unwell

If you have any concerns regarding symptoms you should contact your GP or local medical centre. 


Secondary Breast Cancer in the Lungs

When breast cancer cells spread to the lung(s) it is referred to a lung metastases or lung mets. The breast cancer cells travel through the blood stream or the lymphatic system to the lung(s). On occasion the lymph nodes within the middle of the chest can also be affected. The primary cancer cells that have spread to the lung(s) are breast cancer cells, this is not the same as having cancer that originates within the lung(s). Symptoms of secondary breast cancer which has spread to the lungs can include:

  • A constant cough that will not go away
  • A feeling of tightness or a pain in your chest that will not go away
  • Feeling breathless

If you have any concerns regarding symptoms you should contact your GP or local medical centre. 


Secondary Breast Cancer in the Skin

Unbeknown to many, secondary breast cancer can also spread and form on or below the skin. This is commonly referred to as skin metastases or skin mets. Skin metastates will generally areas that are close to the original site of the breast cancer. More rarely skin metastases will form on other areas of the skin including the arms, legs, stomach, scalp and neck. Symptoms of secondary breast cancer which has spread to the skin can include:

  • A rash which will not go away
  • A hard and painless lump or a cluster of lumps
  • A smell stemming from the area that you are concerned about
  • An area of your skin changing colour
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in the skin

If you have any concerns regarding symptoms you should contact your GP or local medical centre.