This section provides information and support for women:
- whose cancer has come back in another part of the body
other than the breast; and
- who have been told there is little chance of a cure.
Cancer which has spread to another part of your body is known
as a metastasis or secondary deposit. The most common places
for the cancer to spread are your skin, bones, lung and liver.
Women whose cancer has come back in the breast where it
originally occurred or in the other breast should refer to
the section I
have been diagnosed, unless the specialist has advised
you that the cancer has spread to another part of your body.
Women who have metastatic breast cancer can live for some
time. The average survival is around two years, but some people
live a lot longer than this. What will be important is to
be have a good quality of life for this time, to extend life
where possible and desired by the patient and to support as
normal a life as possible. Many women prefer to have treatment
for pain only, as they would prefer to have quality over length
of life. Others are keen to live as long as possible.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation funded a research project
by Dr David Hill from the Cancer Council Victoria to identify
the needs of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
This research project was then used by the National Breast
Cancer Centre to inform the development of guidelines for
both health professionals and consumers in the management
of women with metastatic breast cancer.