METUPUK Member and ‘Patient Expert’ Madeleine Meynell wrote this piece for Total Health:
The signs and symptoms of metastatic breast cancer can be non-specific and mimic other conditions. A study by Breast Cancer Now in 2019 showed that one in four people with metastatic breast cancer visited their GP three or more times before being diagnosed. In 20% of patients, their metastatic disease was misdiagnosed and they were being actively treated for other conditions. Around 40% of patients felt their concerns were not taken seriously. These were mainly women with a documented history of primary breast cancer. Some patient’s symptoms were so severe that they were diagnosed in A&E.
Many patients feel that once they reach five years clear of a primary diagnosis, they are very unlikely to develop metastatic breast cancer. Some doctors are also not vigilant for metastatic disease after five years have passed from initial diagnosis. Unfortunately, the risk of recurrence carries on beyond five years. It is for this reason that oncologists are increasingly prescribing hormonal therapy for estrogen receptive cancer for 10 years.
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