It's October. Pink ribbons are everywhere in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In 2007, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared October 13 Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN) is a national independent patient-led advocacy group that is dedicated to the thousands of women and men living with metastatic breast cancer.
MBCN gives those living with stage 4 disease a greater voice and visibility within the breast cancer community.
"Raising awareness of metastatic breast cancer, a largely misunderstood disease, will encourage research advances to bring us one step closer to getting treatments to extend life ... one step closer to turning metastatic breast cancer into a truly chronic disease. By calling for the recognition of Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, we have taken a large stride in bringing attention to this disease." – MBCN President, Ellen Moskowitz, as quoted in a Reuters press release.
Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells.
A tumor can be benign (not dangerous) or malignant (potential to be dangerous). Benign tumors are not considered cancerous: their cells are close to normal in appearance, they grow slowly, and they do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous. Left unchecked, malignant cells can spread beyond the original tumor to other parts of the body.
In the U.S., breast cancer incidence in women is 1 in 8 (about 13%). Less than 1% of all new breast cancer cases occur in men (about 1,990).
Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic breast cancer is diagnosed when cells from the original breast tumor have spread to different parts of the body, most commonly the bones, lungs and liver. The organs are sometimes involved. (Breast cancer that spreads to any of these sites is not the same as cancer that originates in them.)
Metastatic breast cancer is also referred to as metastatic disease and classified as Stage 4 cancer.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Statistics
An estimated 155,000 women in the United States are currently living with metastatic breast cancer. By 2011, this number will increase to nearly 162,000. Some twenty to 30 percent of all women first diagnosed with cancer limited to the breast will eventually develop it elsewhere.
MBC frequently involves lifelong treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation and targeted therapies, to control the spread of the disease and alleviate symptoms.
For more information on Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, visit Metastatic Breast Cancer. Watch a 60-second public service announcement about MBC Awareness. #