A greater understanding of what MBC is and how it differs from early stage breast cancer is needed among patients, their families and HCPs, researchers, and the public.
- The focus on “fighting” and “beating” breast cancer has led to the creation and dominance of a breast cancer “survivor” identity, which masks the reality that women who have had early stage breast cancer can develop metastatic disease.
- The focus on screening and survivorship can stigmatize patients who experience a recurrence or are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer—they may be perceived to be at fault for the cancer’s progression.
- The effects of public and professional misconceptions or lack of understanding about MBC can negatively influence decisions made by patients and their doctors regarding treatment and quality of life.
- More can be done to build the understanding of health care professionals about how to discuss treatments and quality of life, including palliation with their patients.