Symptoms associated with stage IV breast cancer include breast pain, a noticeable lump in the breast, swelling in the breast and under the armpit, fatigue and insomnia, according to Healthline. Other common symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss and shortness of breath. Additionally, patients may notice skin changes such as itching or redness, and nipple discharge.
In stage IV breast cancer, the cancer has spread from the breast to other areas of the body, such as the bones, lung, liver or brain, states National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Cancer that spreads to the bones can increase the risk of fractures and cause pain in the arms, legs, hips, pelvis and skull, notes Healthline. Cancer that spreads to the lungs can cause a chronic cough and difficulty breathing. Cancer that spreads to the liver causes jaundice and fever in its end stages.
As of 2015, there is no cure for stage IV breast cancer, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Treatments focus on extending lifespan and improving quality of life. Symptoms, previous treatments, areas the cancer has spread, and the characteristics of the cancer cells guides specific treatment. Approximately 15 percent of women live at least five years after stage IV cancer diagnosis, and some women live more than 10 years after diagnosis.