Even stage 4 cancer is not a sentence if you opt to undergo your treatment in a country with highly developed medicine. Modern drugs and techniques allow doctors to control cancer for many years to come. You can undergo your metastatic breast cancer treatment in Germany to expect the best results. On the Booking Health website, you can find the prices of procedures and make an appointment at a specialized clinic.
Metastatic cancer is considered disseminated, that is, spread throughout the body. This means that it cannot be treated with local methods only. Doctors must immediately control all tumors in the body, and this can be done with systemic therapy.
Chemotherapy is the main method for stage 4 breast cancer treatment. Doctors usually use 2 or 3 drugs at the same time. These are anthracyclines, platinum-based drugs, taxanes and other drugs. If some medicines are not effective, doctors prescribe other combinations to achieve regression of tumor foci.
Two-thirds of tumors have estrogen and progesterone receptors. They are susceptible to hormone therapy.
Doctors use drugs from different pharmacological groups, which can be aimed at suppressing the production of estrogens, blocking them or disrupting their interaction with receptors, but in any case, the objective of treatment is to reduce the effect of hormones on the tumor. Without hormones, it will not only grow more slowly, but even decrease in size.
Targeted therapy and immunotherapy
Personalized treatment for breast cancer involves the use of drugs that target specific molecules in the cancer cells. They are not effective for all people, so molecular genetic diagnostics are carried out in Germany to understand which drugs should be prescribed to a patient.
Targeted therapy can involve the use of the following medicines:
- monoclonal antibodies against HER2;
- kinase inhibitors;
- CDK4/6 inhibitors;
- mTOR inhibitors;
- PI3K inhibitors;
- PARP inhibitors;
- antibody-drug conjugates (anti-HER2 or Trop-2 antibodies that deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells).
Immunotherapy can be carried out with immune checkpoint inhibitors. They block the tumor’s ability to evade anti-cancer immunity.
Cytoreductive regional therapy
Cytoreduction means a reduction in the volume of tumor foci. It can be useful if most tumors are successfully controlled by drugs, but some tumor foci enlarge and cause symptoms.
It is not always a primary tumor in the breast. The source of symptoms and the threat of complications may be an area of distant metastasis, for example, in the liver, lung, or brain.
The best treatment for metastases is their surgical removal. Doctors abroad perform complex combined operations for the simultaneous removal of a tumor and distant metastases. Moreover, metastases can be removed in several areas at once.
Such surgical procedures at stage 4 cancer are not always possible. Nonetheless, tumors do not have to be surgically removed. They can be destroyed with radiotherapy or minimally invasive procedures. Doctors use the following methods:
- radiotherapy and radiosurgery are most commonly used to suppress brain, bone and lung metastases;
- embolization of metastases in the liver and, less frequently, in the lungs;
- radiofrequency or microwave ablation can be used for small liver or lung metastases.
Embolization is a minimally invasive procedure to occlude the blood vessels supplying the tumor. Ablation is the destruction of a tumor, usually by heating it. This does not require incisions, as it is enough to insert a needle.
You can get help with stage 4 breast cancer in one of the German hospitals. You are welcome to use the Booking Health service to make an appointment at the most suitable hospital. The website offers the best clinics in Germany with an indication of the cost of all procedures and operations. Our specialists will help you to choose a clinic and organize your trip.