Metastatic Breast Cancer

Have you or someone you love been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer? Clinical trials can offer an opportunity of new treatments and contribute to the science that will benefit others for years to come.

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Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is also known as stage IV or advanced breast cancer. It has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body (most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain). Some women have MBC when they are first diagnosed. But, this is not common in the U.S. Here, most women develop it when the breast cancer returns at some point after they were first diagnosed and treated.

20% to 30% of people initially diagnosed with early stage disease will develop metastatic breast cancer. An estimated 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer accounts for approximately 40,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

Treatment for metastatic breast cancer is lifelong and focuses on control of the disease and quality of life. Treatment is highly personalized. More than with other stages of breast cancer, personal choice guides treatment. Together with your doctor, you can find the balance of treatment and quality of life that is right for you.

Women with MBC often prefer Thriver, Meta-Thriver, Lifer or Forever Fighter. Komen is committed to working with our Stage IV sisters to ensure they feel welcome and included in all our events. At the Race for the Cure, we dedicate the annual Thriver Award to a woman with MBC who doesn’t sugarcoat the hardships of living with Stage IV disease but recognizes there is hope that can be found throughout all of her struggles and who holds onto hope at every turn in life with humor, courage, and grace.

Learn more about metastatic breast cancer and Komen research on MBC."