Approximately 40,000 women and men die of breast cancer every year in the US, and this number has not changed meaningfully in 40 years. Worldwide, the annual death toll is about 522,000.1
The median survival from diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer is 2-3 years, and this number has not changed meaningfully in 20 years.2
About 24% of patients with metastatic breast cancer will be alive 5 years after diagnosis.3
Metastatic breast cancer is on the rise among women under 40, and has been for the last 30 years.4
We don’t know how many people who are initially diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will develop metastatic disease, because the national database that tracks cancer, SEER, does not track when someone’s cancer metastasizes. Estimates range from 20-36% of women and men with early stage breast cancer will later develop metastatic breast cancer.5
Because we don’t track when a person’s breast cancer metastasizes, we only have an estimate for how many people are living with metastatic breast cancer right now. The estimate is 155,000.
A 2014 study by the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance found that only about 7% of all breast cancer research funding goes towards researching metastatic disease.6
Researchers still don’t know which breast cancers will metastasize and which won’t, because we still don’t know how cancer metastasizes.