While Blacks aren’t more at risk for breast cancer, they have a higher propensity for more advanced forms of the disease. That includes metastatic breast cancer, where the tumors spread throughout the body. Studies also show that Black people can have higher rates of progression in the disease that leads to more complicated outcomes. The best way to curb this from happening is to know how to identify the early signs that your cancer is spreading.
What Are The Early Signs Of Metastatic Breast Cancer?
Metastatic or advanced breast cancer describes a stage where the tumor starts to spread to other parts of the body. As such, the signs you might notice will depend on where the tumors are affecting.
1. Chronic headaches – If you’re having headaches all the time that you can’t explain, that’s typically a sign that your cancer has spread to your brain. While it’s not the first place that could be affected, up to 15% of people who develop metastatic breast cancer will experience it.
Studies also show that this progression is more likely for people with the triple-negative or HER-2 positive forms of the disease. Other signs to look out for include seizures, double vision, vomiting, difficulty speaking, and changes in personality.
2. Persistent bone pain – This sign usually points to issues with your bones and studies show that it happens with about 50% of people with metastatic breast cancer. The areas most likely to be affected include the ribs, spine, pelvis, arms, and legs.
Other signs you should know are constipation, the inability to move certain joints, numbness in the limbs, decreased alertness, fatigue, weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, and dehydration.
3. Shortness of breath – People who are experiencing this sign may find that the tumors have spread to their lungs. These cases don’t always have symptoms though so it’s recommended that you talk to your doctor about regular chest X-rays.
Other signs to look out for include