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Recognize Metastatic Breast Cancer This October

CancerWise - October 2008

By Darcy De Leon

This month, a group of patients with advanced breast cancer are making a plea for advocates to shine the pink-ribbon spotlight on a lesser-publicized aspect of the disease: metastatic breast cancer, cancer that has spread beyond the breast.

According to the National Breast Cancer Coalition, approximately 30% of breast cancer patients will go on to develop metastatic disease.

“The breast cancer community as a whole is focused on survivorship, and clearly, some of us will not survive,” says Ellen Moskowitz, president of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN).

The MBCN gives those with metastatic disease a voice by hosting conferences to provide accurate information about the latest treatments and clinical trials.

“During pink ribbon month, we all have come to expect that we will hear about early detection and the search for a cure,” Moskowitz says. “But those of us with metastatic disease know that no matter how many pink ribbons we see, there are limited treatments.”

What you can do

MBCN is asking all breast cancer advocates to join the fight for treatments to extend life, to make metastatic breast cancer a truly chronic condition.

Support groups and cancer centers were called on to promote awareness of metastatic disease.

Organizations can:

  • Include metastatic patients in program planning
  • Hear the voice of the metastatic population
  • Provide support groups for metastatic patients
  • Listen to the needs of metastatic patients
  • Schedule events about metastatic disease
  • Provide information on new treatments
  • Advocate for treatments to extend life

MBCN members are hoping that taking small steps like these could lead to bigger support.

“We need the entire breast cancer community to join with us. We need a force behind us, a powerful force that can shift the tide and bring attention to life-extending treatments,” Moskowitz says.

To let MBCN know what is being done to promote awareness of metastatic breast cancer in your area, e-mail

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© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center