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Although secondary breast cancer can’t be cured, there are treatments that can help many women carry on living their day to day lives with good quality of life.
With secondary breast cancer, the aim of treatment is to:
Different treatments can be given, often in combination with each other. These include:
Newer treatments are also being developed and your doctor may talk to you about taking part in a research trial.| If the treatment you’re having stops working, your cancer specialist will usually change to another treatment. Different treatments can be given, one after the other.
Your specialist will consider the following when planning your treatment:
Chemotherapy drugs, hormonal and biological therapy drugs are carried around in the bloodstream treating cancer cells wherever they are in the body. This is known as systemic therapy. The treatments work against cancer in many areas of the body at one time.
Local treatments, such as radiotherapy and surgery, treat cancer in one particular area in the body. Radiotherapy can be helpful in treating individual areas of cancer in the bones|. Occasionally, surgery can be used to remove a small tumour in the brain or to help strengthen a weak bone.
Even if, at some stage, you decide not to have further treatment, a lot can be done to improve your symptoms.| You may be referred to doctors and nurses who specialise in controlling different symptoms and providing additional support (palliative care).
Content last reviewed: 1 September 2010
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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