By Tamas Mondovics
July is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Tennesseans have been busy working to shed light on the impact the disease has on communities statewide; and, for a good reason. According to a recent release, officials said that more than one in eight women in the U.S. are affected by breast cancer in their lifetimes. More than 154,000 women across the country are dealing with metastatic breast cancer, also known as advanced stage or stage IV breast cancer.
In Tennessee, it is expected that at least 5,500 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer just this year and that more than 900 Tennessee women will die of breast cancer, nearly all due to metastatic breast cancer,
“It is important that Tennesseans are aware of and informed about metastatic breast cancer,” Jennifer Murray, president of the Tennessee Cancer Consortium said. “Patients and families across the state are grateful to Governor Haslam for making this proclamation to help get the word out about this devastating disease.These patients face unique challenges with the emotional and physical demands of continual treatment along with the fact that breast cancer can spread quickly to other parts of the body, regardless of the treatment or preventative measures taken.”
Metastatic breast cancer, or advanced stage or stage IV breast cancer occurs when cancer spreads beyond the breast to other parts of the body, including the bones, lungs, liver and brain. The median survival after a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer is approximately three years.
Officials emphasized that survival times vary greatly from person to person, however, and some research indicates that up to 40 percent of women will survive 5 years after a diagnosis and possibly longer. Metastatic breast cancer frequently involves trying multiple treatments and patients usually fluctuate in and out of remission.
Currently no cure exists for metastatic breast cancer, however, treatment advances have been made in addressing specific types of metastatic breast cancer, and extensive research efforts are underway to address this high unmet need more generally.
Patients, family members and the public can find information about current clinical research studies at https://ClinicalTrials.gov, a searchable database.