When breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body, how do you treat the cancer in two places at once?

Expert Answers

JulieGralowMD (Physician - Oncology - Hematology/Oncology (Verified) ) - 05 / 28 / 2012

Most therapies for metastatic breast cancer are drugs that can circulate through the entire body via the bloodstream, targeting cancer cells that may be in the bone, liver, lungs, or wherever the cancer may be. This is true whether they are taken by mouth or intravenously. The brain is a site of recurrence that can sometimes be harder for certain drugs to penetrate due to something called the “blood-brain” barrier. Some drugs can penetrate this barrier better than others. Occasionally, for certain sites, a more local treatment approach is added - radiation or surgery may be very effective, but it only works at the specific site it is aimed at. For most patients with metastatic breast cancer, the cancer is in multiple sites at the time of recurrence (whether it is visible on scans or not), and a “total body” or systemic treatment approach with drug therapy is the most effective approach.
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