Living Well With Metastatic Breast Cancer

By Renee Bacher
WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Angela Jain

Not that long ago, the main goal of treating metastatic breast cancer -- meaning the disease has spread well beyond the breast -- was to keep a woman comfortable. But a lot has changed in the last decade. Now treatment can help many women live longer, better, and disease-free for periods of time.

Pamela Drullinsky, MD, a cancer doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, says many doctors now see metastatic breast cancer as a chronic illness, because it can be managed for years. “This is similar to [people with diabetes] taking insulin,” she says. “It is still incurable, but can be controlled.”  

Here's how to take charge of your diagnosis and live better with metastatic breast cancer.

Make a Treatment Plan

The uncertainties of having metastatic breast cancer can make you feel like you've lost control of your life. A treatment plan will help you feel more in control. To create one:

  • Learn as much as you can about where your cancer has spread and what type of tumor you have. Your treatment will depend largely on these things.
  • Think about your main goal for treatment. Do you want to get rid of the new cancer or relieve symptoms? Talk to your doctor about realistic goals.
  • Decide whether you want to use the same medical team or add other doctors.

Even if you're happy with your doctors, it's a good idea to get a second opinion to confirm that you're getting the best treatment possible. "It is also important to be evaluated at an academic or research institute that may have cutting-edge trials,” says Tiffany Troso-Sandoval, MD. She is a cancer doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.


The most common treatments for metastatic breast cancer are ones that travel through your blood, treating your entire body. Most likely you'll start with one or more of these:

  • Anti-estrogen therapies. If your breast cancer is hormone receptor-positive, your body's estrogen makes the cancer cells grow faster. In that case, there's a good chance your cancer will respond to an anti-estrogen drug like Arimidex, Aromasin, Faslodex, Femara, or Tamoxifen. These drugs prevent cancer cells from getting the estrogen they need to grow. Clinical trials are also using newer medicines in combination with these.
  • Targeted therapies. Herceptin (trastuzumab), Perjeta, (pertuzumab), or Tykerb (lapatinib) are likely treatments if your breast cancer has high amounts of the protein HER2, which helps cancer cells grow. When used alone or with chemotherapy, these drugs can shrink tumors, slow cancer growth, and, in some cases, help you live longer than chemotherapy alone. If your breast cancer doesn't have the HER2 protein, your doctor may use another type of targeted therapy, Afinitor. In combination with another drug, it can help stop the growth of some types of advanced breast cancer.  
  • Chemotherapy. This can control cancer and improve your quality of life with metastatic cancer. If your cancer is hormone receptor-negative (meaning an anti-estrogen treatment is unlikely to work), you may get small doses of one chemotherapy drug at a time. “This can minimize side effects and make the drugs more effective over a longer period of time,” Troso-Sandoval says.
  • Other treatments. You may get surgery to remove tumors at the original cancer site or another site where it has spread. This can prevent or ease symptoms and may extend your life. Radiation can shrink your tumors and ease pain. Other medications can ease painful symptoms where cancer has spread. 

This GIF of Drake Using a Lint Roller Courtside Is Everything


Looking fly, Drake.

While seated courtside at the Raptors game on Tuesday night, the 27-year-old rapper pulled out a lint roller—yes, a lint roller—to casually freshen up his pants in the midst of the action.

And apparently, his black sweats weren't looking too fresh as Drake proceeded to vigorously lint roll his pants for a full few seconds, clearly unembarrassed, while still managing to watch the game (impressive, Drizzy!).

But that's not the best part! Drake seemingly caught wind of the lint roller reports and took to his own Instagram to let the Internet know that he has fully embraced the lint roller, posting a pic of the lint rolling action, which he captioned, "Lint rollers on deck."

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Drake serves as the team ambassador for the Raptors, so you can look forward to the erstwhile actor sitting courtside as the NBA Playoffs continue.

In case you're wondering, the Toronto Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets with a score of 100-95.

But all we can talk about is Drake's latest accessory.

Started from the bottom, now he's lint-free.

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Bachelorette Contestant Dies in Paragliding Accident

Eric Hill, InstagramInstagram

Bachelorette contestant Eric Hill has passed away today from injuries he suffered from a serious paragliding accident on Sunday. He was 32. Hill was a contestant on this season of The Bachelorette vying for Andi Dorfman's affection. The show will premiere May 19. Hill had already finished production and had been eliminated off the series at the time of the accident.

"Eric shared his final journey with us this morning as all his immediate family were able to be at his side when he passed away," Hill's sister, Karen Tracy, wrote on Facebook. "Thank you to all of your love and support and prayers and fasting. It was amazing to be with so many of his friends and family yesterday in the hospital who came to express their love for Eric. He gave us such a gift of a life fully lived and fully shared, and allowed us all to be a part of his last adventure here on earth. It is hard to think of life without his bright spark, but we know he is on to new adventures. We look forward to carrying on his legacy here and greeting him joyfully again someday. I love you so much, little brother!"

MORE: Details on Eric Hill's tragic accident

Hill was paragliding with friends when his parachute partially collapsed, according to reports.

"He lived more in 32 years than most people do in 100," former Bachelorette contestant Brooks Forester told E! News. "He was always on an adventure, always looking to build memories and meet new friends along the way. I'll miss having the opportunity to go on those adventures with him."

ABC has not announced Hill as an official contestant on this season of The Bachelorette, but sources confirmed to E! News he did compete as a suitor and the accident did not happen on the show. Hill was already eliminated.

"This is really the first time something terrible has happened between time of filming and airing the season so the network will have to figure out how to handle, and if it merits somehow editing show differently," an insider who works on the show told E! News after Hill's accident. Producers are still figuring out how to proceed.

MORE: Andi's first Bachelorette promo

Another source told E! News Andi is on hometown dates with her remaining suitors and is not connected to the outside world. It is unknown if producers will tell Andi the news and how it could affect the final episodes of the season.

In 2013, Hill launched The Global Odyssey, also known as GO with Eric. His goal was to visit all 195 United Nations-recognized countries in record time.

Our thoughts are with Hill's family and friends during this difficult time.

—Additional reporting by Beth Sobol and Sara Kitnick

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Gwyneth Paltrow Attends First Public Event Since Splitting From Chris Martin

Gwyneth Paltrow, Twit PicTwitter

Gwyneth Paltrow has returned to work since announcing her separation from ex Chris Martin one month ago.

The 41-year-old actress attended her first post-split public event today in Hong Kong to promote her lifestyle website Goop. Paltrow looked gorgeous in a black jumpsuit and heels. While she wasn't wearing her wedding ring, she did sport a giant diamond on her right hand.

During the event, the Oscar winner talked about upcoming changes to Goop, including the company's move from London to L.A. She also shot down reports the company is in financial trouble and debt, telling attendees, "Those numbers are based on filings from a couple of years ago, so you shouldn't believe everything you read."

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"I really love my office job," Paltrow said while speaking to fans (according to the SCMP). "I started Goop, my website, because I had a lot of creativity and I wasn't doing as many films."

Paltrow also shared a behind-the-scenes photo of herself in a different outfit posing next to a poster featuring her image with the caption, "So...this happened #weirdout."

Paltrow and Martin announced their split on Mar. 25. Since the announcement, the duo and their two kids jetted off for a family vacation in the Bahamas before returning to L.A. earlier this month where Paltrow threw an 8th birthday party for son Moses.

Paltrow also enjoyed a girls' night out in L.A. last week with pals Stella McCartney, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Richie, Naomi Watts and Gwen Stefani.

PHOTOS: Gwyneth & Chris' romance rewind


Why Aereo Could Change the Way You Watch TV Forever

Aereo AntennaCourtesy Aereo

Newsflash: Aereo is not a delicious chocolate cream-filled cookie (though now we totally want one).

It's a new way to watch TV that is so controversial, it has risen all the way up to the Supreme Court.

So what's it all about and how can it change the way you watch TV forever? (Ever...ever...that's our dramatic echo effect.) We are here to break it down for you.

Aereo is basically a "DVR in the clouds" service that takes local broadcast feeds (you know, the stuff you get for free, like CBS, ABC, FOX and NBC), and brings it into the streaming fold so that you can watch it on any device you want at any time. Want to watch the Scandal finale on your iPhone? Bam. Done. Missed that huge death on The Good Wife and want to watch it real quick in the bathroom at work on your iPad before the whole world spoils it for you? Not a problem, sir!

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Aereo uses digital antennas that record the broadcast. And for a fee, users can get that (normally free) content streamed to their computers, mobile devices or Roku box.

So basically you are paying for TV you used to get for a grand total of zero dollars. But you can watch it anywhere, any time.

But here's the thing: The broadcast networks are so not down with this idea. So much so that their legal battle with Aereo has risen all the way to the highest court in the US. The people that bring you ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the such are suing claiming Aereo is violating copyright law by allowing public performances.

"I think what's at stake in this case is really the nature of broadcast television as we know it," Paul Clement, the lawyer for the broadcasters, said outside the Surpreme Court.

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In March, Aereo filed its response brief with the Supreme Court, with CEO Chet Kanojia asserting, "Aereo's cloud-based antenna and DVR technology falls squarely within the law. We have every confidence that the Court will validate and preserve a consumer's right to access local over-the-air television using an individual antenna, make a personal recording with a DVR, and watch that recording on a device of their choice."

Aereo contends that their service is a "more modern-day" TV atenna and DVR and that the broadcasters are "asking the Court to confine conusmers to outdated equipment and limit their access to lawful technology."

On Tuesday, several justices expressed concern over a broad ruling with the case and how it could possibly affect future cases involving cloud technology. "I'm hearing everybody having the same problem," Justice Stephen Breyer said.

So who's right? And would you sign up for this service so you can watch The Bachelor premiere live while waiting for the bus? A ruling on Aereo is expeced this summer. So you have a little time to decide.

PHOTOS: Renewed, Canceled or On the Bubble? Find Out The Status of Your Favorite Shows


Sorry Netflix Subscribers, Amazon Prime Now Has Access to HBO’s Most Popular Series

Sopranos Cast, Amazon PrimeHBO

Better watch out, Netflix—there's another fish swimming in your stream.

Amazon Prime Instant Video proudly announced Wednesday morning that fans can now enjoy many of HBO's hit series that are typically only reserved for the premium cable elite. This is the first time HBO has licensed its content to a streaming subscription service.

Beginning on May 21, the exclusive deal will give Amazon Prime subscribers access to critically acclaimed series such as The Sopranos and The Wire, as well as select seasons of current shows, including Veep, Girls and True Blood. In addition, HBO Go will become available on Amazon's Fire TV service by year's end.

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"HBO has produced some of the most groundbreaking, beloved, and award-winning shows in television history, with more than 115 Emmys amongst the assortment of shows coming to Prime members next month," said Brad Beale, director of content acquisition for Amazon.

Per Wednesday's press release, "The collection includes award-winning shows such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Big Love, Deadwood, Eastbound & Down, Family Tree, Enlightened, Treme, early seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood, as well as mini-series like Band of Brothers, John Adams and more. Previous seasons of other HBO shows, such as Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will become available over the course of the multi-year agreement, approximately three years after airing on HBO."

Although this list covers a wide array of HBO's most popular series, there are a few noticeable absences form Amazon Prime's repertoire. Sex and the City, Entourage, Game of Thrones and Curb Your Enthusiasm were not included in the list of acquired shows.

PHOTOS: 2014 May finale spoiler-rama!


Justin Bieber Visits Japanese Orphanage as DUI Trial Gets Delayed

Justin Bieber is making some adorable kids smile in Japan.

The 20-year-old pop star, who is overseas with mom Patti Mallette and a friend, shared a rather heartwarming video from his time at an orphanage on Wednesday.

"Love these kids!!" the Canadian singing sensation added on Instagram, along with the sweet short clip from his surprise appearance.

A smiling Bieber can be seen giving some of the cute children high-fives and running around with the youngsters.

"In Japan and JB just randomly decided to show up at an orphanage and surprise some kids. ," Bieber's proud mama tweeted along with a Keek video.

VIDEO: Justin Bieber crashes rival's party!

This sighting of Bieber comes on the heels of his visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, a controversial structure honoring Japanese criminals who committed horrific acts against China and other parts of Asia during World War II. The "Boyfriend" crooner was seemingly unaware of its history and added a photo of himself bowing before the shrine, writing, "Thank you for your blessings."

However, Bieber quickly discovered the disturbing history of his roadside stop and deleted his photo of the structure and added a screen grab of a Time article with the headline (which has since been updated to reflect his apology), "Justin Bieber Drops by Controversial Shrine Honoring War Criminals in Tokyo."

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"While in Japan I asked my driver to pull over for which I saw a beautiful shrine. I was mislead to think the Shrines were only a place of prayer," he wrote. "To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry. I love you China and I love you Japan."

Back in the U.S. on Wednesday, Bieber was granted a delay in his upcoming Miami DUI trial. The next scheduled sounding date is June 25, with a trial date now set for July 7.

Bieber's lawyers met with prosecutors and a Miami court judge during a previously scheduled sounding. During the meeting, the judge decided to reschedule Bieber's May 5 trial date.

PHOTOS: The ups and downs of Justin Bieber's 2013


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