Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic breast cancer, also called stage 4 breast cancer, is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body, most commonly the bones, lungs, liver or brain.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and scared when you’re living with metastatic breast cancer. But you’re not alone. Many people in the U.S. and around the world have metastatic breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen® offers many support resources to help you, including Komen’s dedicated Breast Care Helpline to assist with your needs and provide information about clinical trials. Komen’s Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Impact Series and Metastatic Breast Cancer (Stage IV) Facebook Group offer a supportive, safe space for those living with metastatic breast cancer.

The MBC Impact Series provides people living with metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones with webinars to gather information and discover practical resources to help make decisions for improved physical and emotional health.

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Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer

As hard as it is to hear, metastatic breast cancer cannot be cured today. However, it can be treated.  

Tests are done on a sample of the metastatic tumor from a biopsy of the metastases. The results of these tests give information on the biology of the tumor to help guide treatment.  

Treatment for metastatic breast cancer focuses on extending life and maintaining quality of life. There are many different drug therapies that can be used to treat metastatic breast cancer including:  

Your treatment will depend on the type of breast cancer you have.

Clinical trials 
Clinical trials offer you the chance to try new treatments and possibly benefit from them. In many clinical trials, everyone in the trial gets the new treatment being tested. In a randomized clinical trial, even if you don’t get the new treatment during the trial, you’ll still get the standard treatment, which is the best care possible.

Findings from clinical trials determine if new treatments will become a part of the standard of care for those living with metastatic breast cancer. There are more than 500 metastatic breast cancer clinical trials available in the U.S. right now. The Metastatic Trial Search tool can help you find clinical trials that fit your needs.  

Find a list of questions about clinical trials you may want to ask your doctor. 

New emerging metastatic breast cancer treatments 
This is a promising time in metastatic breast cancer research. Many new emerging treatments for metastatic breast cancer that could potentially benefit you are under study in clinical trials. Treatment is constantly improving and many areas of discovery are underway.  

Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Supportive care 
Supportive care is all the care given to improve the quality of life for people living with metastatic breast cancer. It includes taking care of your physical, emotional, social, spiritual and practical needs. 

Counseling in a one-on-one setting or a support group may improve your mental well-being and quality of life. Loved ones – especially spouses, partners and children – may also need social support. Find help with Komen’s support resources for loved ones

Managing side effects  
All metastatic breast cancer treatments have some side effects. For many people living with metastatic breast cancer, side effects can be managed and even prevented. Before any treatment begins, talk with your doctor about possible side effects and ways to manage them. 

Controlling metastatic breast cancer pain is an important part of your care. You should never feel you have to endure pain. Let your doctor know about any pain or discomfort you have. Your doctor may prescribe medications or change your treatment plan to reduce painful side effects. 

At some point, you may decide to stop treatment for metastatic breast cancer itself. Reducing symptoms then becomes the focus of care. Hospice can make this later stage of care as comfortable as possible.  

Susan G. Komen® Support Resources

Komen’s Patient Care Center is a suite of integrated services that work to ensure no one faces breast cancer alone. From breast health information and connection to local resources to financial assistance and patient navigation, it all starts with our Breast Care Helpline.

Through our Helpline, we provide the following:

  • Answers to questions about your breast cancer risk
  • Info about breast cancer screening, treatment options, clinical trials, and genetic counseling and testing
  • Access to no-cost screening mammograms and diagnostic services
  • Financial assistance if you’re an income-eligible breast cancer patient in treatment
  • Connection to a culturally responsive patient navigator

Contact the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) or helpline@komen.org. All calls are answered by a trained specialist or oncology social worker, Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET and Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET. Se habla español.

Komen’s Metastatic (Stage IV) Breast Cancer Facebook Group provides a place where those living with metastatic breast cancer, and those who love them, can find support, friendship and information.

Our free MBC Impact Series of educational events provides people living with metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones a safe, collaborative space to gather information related to metastatic breast cancer and discover practical resources to help make decisions for improved physical and emotional health. Register to attend at komen.org/mbcseries.

Our Real Pink podcast series features candid conversations with patients, survivors, those living with metastatic breast cancer, scientists and caregivers.

Find more information about metastatic breast cancer through Komen’s metastatic breast cancer fact sheets, booklets and other education materials.



Educational Resources

Metastatic Breast Cancer

Research Fast Facts