Quick and informative metastatic breast cancer facts
- An estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed among women and about 2,670 cases were diagnosed in men in 2019, according to the American Cancer Society.
- About 41,760 women and 500 men were projected to die of metastatic breast cancer in 2019.
- More than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. were alive on January 1, 2019.
- About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.
- Five-year relative survival rates for breast cancer are 99% for localized disease, 86% for regional disease and 27% for patients diagnosed with metastatic disease.
- Although the overall breast cancer death rate has increased by 0.4% per year from 1975 to 1989, it has since decreased rapidly, with a total decline of 40% through 2017. Overall, 375,900 breast cancer deaths were prevented among women in the U.S. from 1989 to 2017. This decline in mortality has been attributed to both improvements in treatment and earlier detection.
- Metastatic breast cancer is not curable, but it can be treatable. More than 150,000 breast cancer survivors are living with metastatic disease, 75% of whom were originally diagnosed with stage I to III.
- About 64% of breast cancer patients have local-stage breast cancer, 27% have regional stage, and 6% have metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis.
- Typical scans used to diagnose metastatic breast cancer are computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan, bone scans and MRI and positron emission tomography (PET or PET-CT) scan, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
- Signs and symptoms of metastatic breast cancer depend on the growth and location of the cancer; for example, a sign of lung metastasis can be difficulty breathing and constant dry cough while a sign of bone metastasis can be joint pain and multiple bone fractures.
- Patients with metastatic disease are treated with systemic therapies, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormonal therapy and immunotherapy, according to ACS data.
- Research indicates that agents targeting CDK 4/6, when combined with endocrine therapy, can effectively stop tumor growth and improve survival, according to Dana-Farber.
- For HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, the standard treatment is combination taxane chemotherapy plus trastuzumab (Kadcyla, Genentech) and/or pertuzumab (Perjeta, Genentech) to improve patient survival.
- For HR-positive and HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer, abemaciclib (Verzenio, Eli Lilly) is an FDA-approved treatment.
- In 2019, the FDA approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq, AstraZenca) – the first immunotherapy drug – combined with chemotherapy for adult patients with PD-L1-positive, triple-negative breast cancer patients.
- American Cancer Society. Breast cancer facts & figures 2019-2020. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures-2019-2020.pdf. Accessed on May 6, 2020.
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Metastatic Breast Cancer: A Comprehensive Guide. https://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2019/06/metastatic-breast-cancer-a-comprehensive-guide/. Accessed on May 6, 2020.