Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day Date in the current year: October 13, 2024

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day Most people are aware that breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, but fewer know about the dangers of metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, also referred to as National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, is observed annually on October 13 to raise awareness of MBC and support patients with stage IV breast cancer.

The term “metastatic breast cancer” (MBC), also called stage IV breast cancer or secondary breast cancer, refers to breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer most commonly metastasizes to the lymph nodes, bones, lungs, liver, and brain. When breast cancer spreads to other areas of the body, it does not became another type of cancer; the tumor cells still look and act as cancerous breast tissue cells.

Even though breast cancer can be successfully treated at early stages, approximately 20-30% of early stage breast cancer survivors experience the recurrence of the disease in the form of MBC, which can occur as early as several months or as late as several decades after completing successful treatment.

Unlike early stage breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer is considered incurable in most cases. Its ten-year survival rate is 10% with optimal treatment and 5% without treatment. The main goal of MBC treatment is to prolong the patient’s life and ensure a good quality of life by managing symptoms and preventing further spread of cancer. MBC is managed by various combinations of treatments (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, targeted therapies).

Despite MBC being the leading cause of cancer death in women, only about 5% of overall breast cancer research in the United States goes to MBC research. This is why it is so important to raise awareness of this type of cancer.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day was initiated by a group of MBC patients and their families, who traveled to Washington, D.C. and held a demonstration to attract lawmakers’ attention. Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and the U.S. Congress passed a resolution designating October 13, 2009 as National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Since then, MBC patients, their families, and the medical community have observed Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day every year. This awareness day is part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer, its signs and symptoms, and its devastating impact, as well as to improve support and screening for this type of cancer.

You can observe MBC Awareness Day by wearing an awareness ribbon (a pink ribbon is a symbol for breast cancer awareness in general, and a pink, teal and green ribbon represents metastatic breast cancer), donating to an organization that funds metastatic breast cancer research or supports MBC patients, participating in an MBC Day event near you, and spreading awareness on social media.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is also a great day to promise to yourself to perform a monthly self-exam because the earlier you catch breast cancer, the less likely it will spread to other parts of your body and become incurable.

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Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, awareness days, MBC Awareness Day, stage IV breast cancer, secondary breast cancer