Health Alert: Metastatic Breast Cancer: Part 2

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV) -- Welcome back to Health Alert, tonight is the second part of a two-part interview concerning metastatic breast cancer. Joining us again this week is Peggy Johnson, RN, BSN, Clinical Navigator for Breast Health and Gynecological Health at UHC.

Question: What are the statistics on incidence of metastatic breast cancer?

Answer: There are estimates that 20-30% of patients with an early stage cancer will have their cancer return as metastatic, even if they were told their early stage cancer had been “cured.” Another 8% of new breast cancer cases are found to be metastatic at their initial diagnosis.

Question: What is the main difference between early stage breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer?

Answer: Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) is treatable but no longer curable. Treatment is lifelong and focuses on preventing further spread of the disease and managing symptoms. The goal is for patients to live a good quality of life for as long as possible.

Question: How is metastatic breast cancer treated?

Answer: Depending primarily on the kind or subtype of MBC, patients may be on either targeted therapies or systemic chemotherapy. Radiation and surgery are also sometimes used.


Question: What are the different kinds (subtypes) of metastatic breast cancer?

Answer: Subtypes for early stage and metastatic breast cancer are the same: An estimated 65% of patients have Hormonal (estrogen or progesterone driven), also called ER+/PR+; 20% have Her2+(fueled by a protein identified as Her2 neu) and 15% have Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC- which does not have any of the 3 above known biomarkers: ER. PR or HER2). These numbers are approximate, because some people have more than one subtype ( HER2+ and ER+) or their subtype may change over time.