Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is used and celebrated to raise awareness and to educate people about Metastatic Breast Cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body, such as the bones, lungs, liver or brain. Whilst currently considered incurable, advances in treatment and care mean some people are able to live with metastatic breast cancer for many years. Here are some quick facts.
1. Metastatic breast cancer, also referred to as Stage IV, is the fatal form of breast cancer. It means that the cancer has metastasized, or spread beyond the breast, to other parts of the body.
2. Once breast cancer metastasizes, it is not curable and women living with metastatic are on life-long treatments to try to control it.
3. Women with metastatic breast cancer can live rich and meaningful lives. The past few years have also seen an uptick in programs enhancing quality of life.
4. Most funding for breast cancer research goes toward awareness, prevention, and early detection. Only around 7% of breast cancer research funding is specifically allotted to finding a cure for metastatic breast cancer.
5. It’s not the patient’s fault, just some types of breast cancer are just more aggressive than others.
6. There are many different terms for people living with metastatic breast cancer. Some people call themselves “lifers,” “thrivers,” or “metsters” rather than “survivors,” because they will spend the rest of their lives with the disease.
7. Women with metastatic may change treatment regimens frequently, the side effects of treatment change as well. Fatigue, pain and sleep problems are the most common disruptions. And like everyone, there are good days and bad days.
8. Depending primarily on the kind or subtype of mbc, patients may be on either targeted therapies or systemic chemotherapy. Radiation and surgery are also sometimes used.
9. Approximately 40,000 die of breast cancer each year—a number that essentially is unchanged over the last 20 years. All deaths from breast cancer are caused by metastatic breast cancer.
10. Patients are scanned every 3 months. If metastases remain stable or shrink, scans may be done less frequently, every 6 months for example.