Fighting Stage 4 Breast Cancer - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Fighting Stage 4 Breast Cancer

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - While breast cancer "survivors" hold the hearts and minds of the public and the media, what happens to those who suffer a recurrence of the disease?  These individuals represent about 30% of breast cancer patients and the recurring form of the disease is referred to as Metastatic, Stage 4 or Advanced Breast Cancer. 

To bring more attention to Stage 4 Breast Cancer, Charlotte and 22 other US cities have declared October 13th Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

The American Cancer Society reports that in 2008 an estimated 180,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  Approximately 40,000 women and 500 - 600 men die of breast cancer in the U.S. each year.  The North Carolina Central Cancer Registry projects there will be 6,347 female breast cancer cases and 1,287 breast cancers deaths in the state this year.  In Mecklenburg County alone, 512 cases of female breast cancer and 98 breast cancers deaths are predicted.

Currently there is no cure for metastatic disease.  The lifetime survival rate for metastatic disease is on the order of 1-2% and for all other patients, the disease is expected to progress to a terminal phase at some point in time.  Once diagnosed, life expectancy is 2 ½ to 3 years, even given recent improvements in treatment.

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