Breast Cancer: Metastasis

Breast cancer spreads when the cancer cells show up in other parts of the body or when breast cancer cells travel to other organs through the blood vessels and/or lymph vessels. This is called metastasis.

Breast cancer most often spreads to the lymph nodes under the arm (axillary nodes), neck (cervical nodes), under the chest bones (internal mammary nodes), or just above the collar bone (supraclavicular nodes).

When it spreads throughout the body, it can appear in the bones, lungs, and liver. Less often, breast cancer may affect the brain.

Breast cancer can also recur (come back after treatment), appearing locally in the skin, in the same breast (if it was not removed as part of treatment), in other tissues of the chest, or elsewhere in the body.