Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) is when the cancer has travelled from the primary breast site through the blood or lymphatic system to a distant area of the body.

When this happens, it is now Stage 4 cancer and is an incurable disease. Amongst those diagnosed with early stage Breast Cancer, approx 30% will go on to develop MBC.
Some people will discover at primary diagnosis that their cancer has already travelled, this is known as de-novo.
Women are predominately affected by MBC, but men can also be diagnosed.

The most common travel sites are to the lungs, liver, bones and brain, however it can spread to other areas of the body.[1] The average life expectancy with a MBC diagnosis is 2 – 3 years.[2]
One of the key challenges with MBC is the fact we are not informed about signs and symptoms, so are often not diagnosed until it’s too late.

“Complications can occur with any operation and we are advised of these small % risks. We are fully informed and it’s explained you may die, BUT you are TOLD about every possible issue – yet even though MBC affects so many people, and has such a poor prognosis, we are not even advised of red flag symptoms”.[3]

MBC exists in the shadows of the Pink Ribbon campaigns. Many ‘survivors’ run races to raise funds for awareness in the belief they are ‘cured’. Although around two thirds of people will go on to live long lives, around one third will face MBC[5].
We are in fact living in ignorance.

The figures cited above are based on current estimations as there is no accurate national data to reflect the actual impact of MBC across the UK. Thanks to this, treatment pathways are limited.

Funding for MBC research falls far short of the amount allocated to Primary Breast Cancer. We question this disparity.
METUPUK believes in aligning with national and international key partners to share information, lobby decision-makers and publicise information and findings.

This will generate equitable access to advanced treatments and trials. People affected by MBC will be treated as living well with a chronic illness for as long as possible and will no longer be in the shadows.

There are many committed and active organisations[6] working to improve the lives of people affected by breast cancer, yet very few[7] are specifically working in the context of metastatic disease. A localised breast cancer will generally not take a life – MBC will inevitably take a life.

At METUPUK our experience is that the general population are largely unaware of MBC and the people affected by it are a hidden population.
We want to challenge the status quo. We will promote equity of access to treatments and trials while raising awareness without raising fear.
We will strive to improve quality of life for those who are diagnosed with MBC. Our key objectives are as follows:

Raising MBC Awareness and Education
Campaigning for equitable access to treatment and drugs
Improve Patient Care and Treatment


[1] Definition – MBC known also as Secondary Breast Cancer (SBC)– spread of breast cancer from primary site of breast (if detected) to distant parts of the body – lungs, lives, bones, brain, lymph nodes which is incurable at the present time. Also known as ABC (Advanced Breast Cancer)
[2] See ABCD Lobular Infographic
[3] Get reference
[4] Jo Taylor – reference
[5] Get reference
[6] Breast Cancer Now for example.
[7] Secondary 1st, Second Hope, Make 2nds Count

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