Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic breast cancer, also called stage 4, 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 are living with metastatic breast cancer.

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 MBC Impact Series and MBC Facebook group offer a supportive, safe space specifically for those living with metastatic breast cancer.

The MBC Impact Series provides people living with metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones with monthly 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, metastatic breast cancer 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 those living with metastatic breast cancer focuses on extending your life and maintaining your quality of life. There are many different treatments and drug therapies that can be used to treat metastatic breast cancer:  

Clinical trials 
Clinical trials offer you the chance to try new treatments and possibly benefit from them. 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 300 metastatic breast cancer clinical trials available in the U.S. right now. Using 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. While most of these new treatments are drug therapies, there are many areas of discovery 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. Supportive care also includes taking care of your 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. 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:

• Emotional support from oncology social workers and highly trained specialists.

• Info about breast cancer treatment options, clinical trials, and genetic counseling and testing.

• Access to Komen’s Financial Assistance Program if you’re an income-eligible breast cancer patient in treatment or living with MBC.

• Connection to a culturally responsive Komen patient navigator who can help you with insurance, local resources, communication with health care providers and more.

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 through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET. Se habla español.

Komen’s Metastatic 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 MBC 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 features candid conversations with patients, survivors, those living with metastatic breast cancer, scientists and caregivers.

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



Educational Resources

Metastatic Breast Cancer

Research Fast Facts