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Health/Wellness

5 Must-Share Facts About Metastatic Breast Cancer

(BPT) -

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women.[1] And, despite strides in treatment, some types of breast cancer remain incurable.[2]

One such type is metastatic breast cancer, an advanced stage of the disease. It is estimated to affect more than 154,000 women in the U.S.[2] Read on for five facts about metastatic breast cancer that you can share:

1. Metastatic breast cancer is found in parts of the body beyond the breast.

Metastatic breast cancer refers to the most advanced stage of breast cancer (stage IV). This is when breast cancer has spread beyond the breast to other organs such as the bones, lungs or liver.[2]

2. Metastatic breast cancer typically occurs when there is a disease recurrence, or when it returns after previous treatment.

Nearly 30 percent of women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer will develop metastatic disease, which typically appears after a person completes treatment for early or locally advanced breast cancer.[2],[3] Only 6 percent of women in the U.S have metastatic breast cancer when first diagnosed, meaning the cancer was found after it spread to another part of the body.[2]

3. There is currently no cure for metastatic breast cancer.

Unfortunately, there is no cure available for metastatic breast cancer.[2] Unlike less advanced breast cancer, you can’t kill all the cancer cells that spread to other organs.[2] As a result, most breast cancer-related deaths are caused by metastasis.[4]

4. Metastatic breast cancer is not a “hopeless” diagnosis.

Though there is no cure, metastatic breast cancer can be treated, and advancements in therapies continue to improve survival for many.[2],[4] Types of treatment include hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies.[2] Treatment plans often focus on length and quality of life, and it is now estimated that about 34 percent of women with metastatic breast cancer in the U.S. live at least five years after being diagnosed.[2],[5]

5. Progress is being made in the treatment and understanding of metastatic breast cancer.

Less than 50 years ago, only 10 percent of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer survived five years after diagnosis.[4] Now, due to recent advances in treatment, some women may live 10 or more years after diagnosis; however, survival varies greatly from person to person.[2]

Researchers are continuing work to identify what causes breast cancer cells to metastasize so they can develop new therapies to prevent and treat metastatic breast cancer.[4] Help raise further awareness of these important messages by sharing this article.

[1] National Breast Cancer Foundation. Breast Cancer Facts. https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts. Accessed October 2018.

[2] Susan G. Komen. Treatments for Metastatic Breast Cancer. https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/RecommendedTreatmentsforMetastaticBreastCancer.html. Accessed October 2018.

[3] Breastcancer.org. Metastatic Breast Cancer. https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/recur_metast. Accessed October 2018.

[4] Susan G. Komen. 2018 Research Fast Facts. Metastatic Breast Cancer. https://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Pages/What_We_Do/We_Fund_Research/Your_Research_Dollars_at_Work/2018_Metastasis_FF.pdf. Accessed October 2018.

[5] Susan G. Komen. Facts for Life. Metastatic Breast Cancer. 2017. https://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/About_Breast_Cancer/Tools_and_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Breast_Self_Awareness_Cards/Metastatic%20Breast%20Cancer.pdf. Accessed October 2018.