Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer.

TitleLiving with Metastatic Breast Cancer.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsGanz PA, Stanton AL
JournalAdv Exp Med Biol
Date Published2015
KeywordsBiomedical Research, Breast Neoplasms, Female, Humans, Long-Term Care, Neoplasm Metastasis, Precision Medicine, Quality of Life

Although prevalence estimates are imprecise, growing numbers of women in the United States are living longer with metastatic breast cancer, attributable at least in part to the availability of effective targeted therapies. Women living with metastatic disease are understudied, however, and substantial heterogeneity exists in both the clinical characteristics of metastatic tumors and the physical and psychological experience of patients living with the disease. Survivorship issues are complex for patients who are living with metastatic disease over extended periods of time, from years to decades. Newly diagnosed patients with stage IV disease are confronting cancer for the first time, while others have metastatic disease as a result of breast cancer recurrence. Many patients are able to live for years on stable medical regimens, and yet others live with a moving target of aggressive disease with arduous treatments and uneven response. The psychological common denominator is the experience of profound life threat and the accompanying uncertainty, for both the affected woman and her loved ones. Maintaining life balance in the face of metastatic disease, as well as managing pain, fatigue, and other physical and psychological symptoms are major challenges. Increasingly, the clinical approach to metastatic disease reflects the consensus that palliative and supportive care are essential from the point of diagnosis. To remedy the paucity of systematic research on women living with metastatic breast cancer for extended periods, we offer directions for research to understand the experience of metastatic breast cancer and to provide evidence-based inter-professional care.

Alternate JournalAdv. Exp. Med. Biol.
PubMed ID26059940