For most, the breast cancer has already traveled to another part of the body, such as the bones, liver, or lung. The risk of cancer spread to the brain is usually highest for women with more aggressive subtypes of breast cancer, such as HER2-positive or triple-negative breast cancer. If your doctor suspects brain metastasis, he or she will order an MRI magnetic resonance imaging study of the brain, often with contrast solution. This solution is delivered intravenously and then travels into the brain, helping to make the study images clearer. Usually, an MRI can determine whether an unusual finding in the brain is metastatic breast cancer. In rare cases, biopsies are performed to confirm the diagnosis.
The most common types of cancer that cause metastatic brain tumors are cancers of the lung , breast , skin melanoma , colon , kidney and thyroid gland. Some metastatic brain tumors appear many years after the primary cancer. Others metastasize so quickly that they are identified before the primary cancer. In other cases, the body is able to destroy the primary cancer but not the metastatic brain tumor. When this occurs, the primary cancer can be unknown.
Metastatic breast cancer also called stage IV or advanced breast cancer is not a specific type of breast cancer. It's the most advanced stage of breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other organs in the body most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain. For example, breast cancer that has spread to the bones is still breast cancer not bone cancer.
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