Many patients are living longer with Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) than ever before. However, complete responses remain uncommon, and progression of disease is often inevitable. The experience of living with MBC exposes patients to a wide variety of clinical, psychological, social and spiritual issues. Although much research effort has focused on decision-making and coping strategies among women with early breast cancer, relatively little attention has been given to the needs, experiences, and perceptions of women living with MBC. Furthermore, there are major research gaps in understanding and prioritizing the types of psycho-social interventions that would make the most difference in the lives of these patients. Fortunately, the tide is turning. This communication represents a joint effort of the Breast International Group and the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored North American Breast Cancer Group (BIG-NABCG) to highlight perceptions and needs of patients living with MBC and current obstacles facing them, and recommends strategies for better addressing some of these unmet needs.
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