Can breast cancer start in another part of the body?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Can cancer start in other parts of the body and then go to the breast making breast cancer secondary and not primary?

Expert Answers

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

The question is what is the primary site of any cancer.  In order to be truly what we call "breast cancer" the origin or primary site of the cancer must be in the breast.  Cancer that comes from another primary site and is found in the breast is not called breast cancer.  It would be called ________ cancer  that has metastasized to the breast. 

Community Answers

Mikiomiles23 answered...

Yeah, Andrew is absolutely right. The cancer is classified by wherever it starts from.

You can check out more information right on this site, here:

Jade1961 answered...


Andrews answer is right on the money. If you have cancer somewhere in your body and it has been staying still there you have ________ cancer, however, if the cancer were to metastasize then yes it could possibly go to the breasts and would be secondary not primary.

I suggest you have a look at I am a cancer survivor or two completely different forms of cancer and am now part of Team Livestrong as the leader of the Erie County Cancer Killers. Please check out the website. There are many helpful resources as well as people you can call to obtain information.

God Bless & LIVESTRONG! Jade

A fellow caregiver answered...

Hi, I hv been diagnosed with breast cancer stage 3 n I am 29 year old. I hv a 1 year old daughter to look after. I am v scared and worried.

Can anyone plz tell me tht is it possible tht cancer can spread elsewhere while u r on the chemotherapy . I hv completed 5 cycles of chemo till now n my last one is in July . Plz answer ?