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Advanced Practice Nursing Issues

Cutaneous Metastases in Breast Cancer

Brianna Kalmykow
Suzanne Walker
CJON 2011, 15(1), 99-101 DOI: 10.1188/11.CJON.99-101

Cutaneous metastases occur more often in breast cancer than in other diseases in women. Presentation often is ambiguous because the metastases can mimic other common processes (e.g., cellulitis, lymphedema). Accurate differential diagnosis identifies less obvious manifestations of progressive disease and allows for appropriate management. Although interventions are aimed at halting disease progression, cutaneous metastases indicate an incurable diagnosis. Treatment focuses on delaying progressive disease, controlling symptoms, and maintaining quality of life. The care of skin metastases evolves as the tumor spreads and more tissue destruction occurs. Skin management and topical interventions increase comfort, decrease distress, and create feelings of control in this population.

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