"Eight Common Myths About Metastatic Breast Cancer" -Barbara Brody
About one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the five-year survival rate for someone with early stage (stage 0 or 1) breast cancer is nearly 100 percent, it's only 22 percent for women with metastatic (stage 4) breast cancer, according to data from the National Cancer Institute. "We try to encourage women to think of it as a chronic disease," said Paula Klein, MD, assistant professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. As with any chronic condition, you should expect to be getting some type of treatment for the rest of your life. How harsh that treatment is varies widely. If the cancer has receptors for estrogen or progesterone (ER/PR positive), then you might only need endocrine therapy (oral medication) at first. "Women in this subset might not need chemotherapy right away, so their quality of life can be very good,” added Dr. Klein.
- Paula Klein, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai