October WAS Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but Metastatic Breast Cancer is Here All Year.
Help us spread the word… year-round!
Each month, our Here All Year campaign explores a new topic around metastatic breast cancer—from myth and stigma busters, to new research and strategies for improving outcomes. Want to help make a difference for people living with MBC, all year long? Dig deeper into the research, explore the available resources and share them on your social and email channels.
November 2020: Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis
When breast cancers spreads from the breast to other parts of the body, it is termed “metastatic”. The most common sites of spread in breast cancer are the bones, liver, lungs, and brain. At a metastatic diagnosis, doctors commonly scan the body for signs of spread, but most patients do not receive a brain scan unless they have symptoms like a numbness, or headaches. This month, the Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Alliance is focusing on breast cancer brain metastasis. The incidence of brain metastasis is growing as new therapies help patients live longer with MBC. As in all things MBC, we need more research, earlier screening, and scientific breakthroughs. For a patient living with breast cancer brain mets, the need for research is enormous and HERE ALL YEAR.
Across all breast cancer subtypes, approximately 10%-15% of those with metastatic breast cancer develop brain metastases. This rate is as high as 30% for those with metastatic human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive disease, and as high as 50% for patients with metastatic triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Current estimates are that up to 15% of breast cancer patients will develop brain metastasis, but this incidence is expected to climb as patients live longer with metastatic disease due to improved systemic therapies, better imaging and earlier detection.
Historically the median survival of patients with breast cancer brain metastases was very poor, ranging from 3-6 months. But with new targeted treatments, overall survival across all MBC subtypes is now closer to 2+ years. HER2+ MBC has seen the biggest treatment advances of all subtypes with a median life expectancy of 3 years.
Just two years after her early stage diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer, Chawnté Randall learned she had progressed to metastatic disease in 2019. Chawnté has become a strong advocate for young Black woman living with MBC. Black women are 40% more likely to die from MBC due in part to disproportionate representation in clinical trials. Hear more about Chawnté’s advocacy in brain mets research.
Lynda Weatherby went from a Stage 0 DCIS & bilateral mastectomy in 2001 to a recurrence & Stage IV MBC diagnosis 12 years later, with metastases all through her bones, to her brain, and a facial nerve. Hear how Lynda has managed her brain mets treatments and advocates for more breast cancer brain mets research today.
"HERE ALL YEAR" MONTHLY TOPIC ARCHIVE
October 2020: Educating and Raising Awareness of MBC
During the month of October we featured basic information about metastatic breast cancer (MBC) to help you learn more about the disease so you can help us spread the word. The MBC Alliance strives to ensure that all metastatic breast cancer patients and their caregivers know how to and are able to access the care and services they need from a responsive and well-informed healthcare system. We are doing that by working to build understanding of MBC and how it differs from early stage breast cancer among those diagnosed—as well as their families, health care providers, researchers, and health policy makers and influencers.
Although metastatic breast cancer has spread to another part of the body, it’s still breast cancer and treated as breast cancer.
Did you know that about 6-10% of breast cancer patients are initially diagnosed at stage IV? This is called “de novo”—from the beginning—metastatic disease.
Katherine O’Brien is one of those patients who received a de novo MBC diagnosis, and she has been living with MBC for 12 years. Here’s her perspective on navigating Breast Cancer Awareness Month as an MBC patient. She’s “Here All Year!“
Lisa Laudico also received a de novo MBC diagnosis. Listen to her talk about her experiences of living with MBC for the last 3 years and how becoming an advocate for others has helped her find meaning and purpose in the face of this illness.