This page is about signs and symptoms of secondary breast cancer, which is when breast cancer has spread to another part of the body.
Looking for information about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
Many symptoms of secondary breast cancer are similar to those of other conditions, and it’s difficult to list them all.
Some general symptoms that breast cancer may have spread include:
- Feeling constantly tired
- Constant nausea (feeling sick)
- Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite
Download a quick guide to the signs and symptoms of secondary breast cancer.
Signs that breast cancer has spread to the bones
The main symptoms of secondary breast cancer in the bone include:
- Pain in your bones, which may get worse when lying down
- Bone fractures (breaks)
Signs that breast cancer has spread to the lungs
Symptoms of secondary breast cancer in the lungs include:
- A cough that doesn’t go away
- Pain or tightness in the chest that doesn’t go away
Signs that breast cancer has spread to the liver
Symptoms of secondary breast cancer in the liver include:
- A build-up of fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
- A general feeling of being unwell
- Itching and jaundice
Signs that breast cancer has spread to the brain
Symptoms of secondary breast cancer in the brain include:
- Nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (being sick)
- Weakness or feeling numb down one side of the body
- Unsteadiness or loss of balance and co-ordination
- Seizures (fits)
- Difficulty with speech
- Problems with vision
- Changes in behaviour, mood or personality
- Memory problems
Signs that breast cancer has spread to the skin
Symptoms of secondary breast cancer in the skin include:
- A change in the colour of the skin
- A persistent rash
- A firm, painless nodule (small lump) or multiple nodules of different sizes
- Lymphoedema (swelling of the arm, hand or breast area)
- Odour (smell)
It’s important to talk to your GP or breast care nurse if you have any symptoms that are:
- Don’t have an obvious cause
- Don’t go away
Worried about breast cancer spreading?
It’s natural to worry about breast cancer spreading to other parts of the body.
While it’s important to get any new and persistent symptoms checked, remember that aches and pains in the bones can be due to ageing, arthritis or side effects of treatment for primary breast cancer. Breathlessness and a cough can be symptoms of a cold or flu-type illness. And many people experience tiredness and loss of appetite after cancer treatment.
Whatever your worry or concern, our free Helpline is here to offer support and answer your questions. Call 0808 800 6000.