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

Brock Taraba Brock has been cancer free for over a decade, thanks to the support we received from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Read Brock's story

Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

Learn more