Breast cancer

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If breast cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the breast to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care.

If breast cancer spreads, it usually spreads to regional lymph nodes. These are lymph nodes on the same side of the body as the tumour in the following areas:

  •  under the arm
  •  around the collarbone
  •  around the breastbone

Breast cancer can also spread to:

  • muscles on the chest
  • the skin on the breast
  • bones (usually the spine, ribs or legs)
  • the liver
  • the lungs
  • the brain

Stories

I want everyone to win their battles like we did. That’s why I’ve left a gift in my will to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Read Margaret's story

Making progress in the cancer fight

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The 5-year cancer survival rate has increased from 25% in the 1940s to 60% today.

Learn more