Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  16 / 60 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 16 / 60 Next Page
Page Background


NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Breast Cancer – Metastatic (STAGE IV), Version 2.2017


Treatment planning

Medical history


Physical exam

Not all metastatic breast cancers are the

same. Your cancer doctor will want to

learn all about the cancer you have. Part 2

describes the tests used to learn about

breast cancer. Based on the test results,

your treatment can be tailored to you. This

is called personalized medicine.

Medical history

Your medical history includes any health events and

medicines you’ve taken in your life. Your cancer

doctor will want to know about illnesses, breast

biopsies, prior treatment with radiation, and if you are

pregnant. It may help to make a list of old and new

medications while at home to bring to your doctor’s


Breast cancer and other health conditions can run in

families. Thus, your cancer doctor will ask about the

medical history of your relatives. Hereditary breast

cancers are due to abnormal genes that were passed

down from a parent to a child. They are not common.

About 1 out of 10 breast cancers are hereditary.

Read the section called

Genetic counseling

to learn


A medical history is needed for treatment planning.


Guide 1

for a complete list of care that is

advised prior to treatment. Some women do not need

every test or service listed.

Physical exam

Doctors often perform a physical exam along with

taking a medical history. A physical exam is a study

of your body for signs of disease. To start, your basic

body functions will be measured. These functions

include your temperature, blood pressure, and pulse

and breathing (respiration) rate. Your weight will also

be checked.

During an exam, your doctor will listen to your lungs,

heart, and gut. He or she will also look at and feel

parts of your body. This is done to see if organs are

of normal size, are soft or hard, or cause pain when


Your doctor will touch your breasts and nearby lymph

nodes. This is called a clinical breast exam. Your

breasts may be felt while you sit or stand up as well

as when you lie back. Some women feel uneasy

having their breasts touched by their doctor. Keep in

mind that this exam provides important information

and is quick.