Komen NCTC Joins National Commitment to Conquer Metastatic Breast Cancers

Komen vows to drive breakthroughs for the most-deadly breast cancers and educate those who believe breast cancers are easily treated or always curable

Raleigh, NC – October 14, 2019 – Susan G. Komen® North Carolina Triangle to the Coast (NCTC) today joined with the rest of the national Susan G. Komen® breast cancer nonprofit organization to declare their commitment to conquering metastatic breast cancer (MBC) through public policy advocacy, research funding and ongoing education. In recognition of Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on October 13, Komen announced its commitment to create a research fund benefitting the more than 154,000 women and unknown men who are estimated to be living with MBC today, building on its $210 million investment in metastatic breast cancer research.

Komen NCTC urged others across the state’s breast cancer community, including local policymakers, researchers, clinicians and stakeholders across the health care spectrum, to join with them in making MBC a national priority. For more information on the MBC Fund and how to support it, visit www.komen.org/mbc.

“More than 42,000 people in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer this year alone, most from metastatic breast cancer – that is unacceptable,” said Pam Kohl, executive director at Komen NCTC. “Together, we are committed to doing whatever it takes to save lives. Locally, that means we not only help fund Komen’s national research investment to help us better understand metastatic breast cancer, but we also provide resources and support for people living with metastatic breast cancer and for their families right here in North Carolina.”

Komen NCTC provides the following local programs to support those living with MBC:

What is Metastatic Breast Cancer?

Metastatic breast cancer – also called Stage IV breast cancer — is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver and/or brain. Of note:

  • There are currently more than 154,000 women estimated to be living with MBC in the U.S. today. There are also men living with MBC; we just do not know how many.
  • MBC is responsible for most of the more than 42,000 breast cancer deaths expected in the U.S. each year.
  • About 94 percent of people with MBC were treated for an earlier stage of breast cancer that came back (recurred), sometimes many years later.
  • Only 6 percent of women (and 8 percent of men) diagnosed with breast cancer have metastatic breast cancer when they are first diagnosed.
  • There are no cures – yet – for MBC. Current treatments focus on extending life and improving the quality of life.

How is Susan G. Komen Combating Metastatic Breast Cancer?

Komen has funded more than $210 million in MBC research since our founding, supporting more than 500 research grants, including more than 50 clinical trials focused on MBC. Komen’s funding of metastatic breast cancer research has grown to represent 70% of its annual research investment – up from 50% just two years ago. The organization has been prioritizing the focus of its competitive research grants program on MBC – a focus that will continue this year.

In June, Komen announced a request for research grant applications focused on applying liquid biopsy technology to MBC. A liquid biopsy is a test done on a sample of blood to detect cancer cells or pieces of DNA from tumor cells that are circulating in the blood. If scientists can unlock the potential of liquid biopsies for metastatic breast cancer, doctors may then be able to use small samples of blood to detect metastatic disease even before symptoms arise, monitor metastatic breast cancer treatment response and adjust therapies, and develop more personalized treatment plans for metastatic breast cancer patients.

Helping People Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer Today

“We also need to help those living with metastatic breast cancer today live better lives, longer,” said Komen CEO Paula Schneider, a breast cancer survivor who lost her mom to MBC. “We are establishing a dedicated fund benefitting people currently living with metastatic breast cancer. We can and we must support ways to improve quality of life for those living with breast cancer, while we search for more effective treatments that will give MBC patients more time with the ones they love.”

“Komen has stepped up its commitment to discovering breakthroughs for metastatic breast cancer and supporting those living with the disease today. They are reaching out to the metastatic breast cancer community for input, investing more funds in metastasis research, and educating people about metastatic breast cancer through their MBC Impact Series. By working together, we can get closer to the goal of ending nobody dying from metastatic breast cancer. I hope that other individuals, organizations and policymakers join us in putting an end to this devastating disease,” said Kelly Shanahan, a former physician and current metastatic breast cancer patient and advocate.

Komen’s work to conquer breast cancer does not end with its leading research investment or patient support programs. Komen mobilizes advocates across the country to support government research funding, as well as federal and state legislation that would remove barriers to care, particularly for those living with MBC. These policies would ensure metastatic patients are able to receive the treatments they require without unneeded red tape or being forced into bankruptcy.

Komen supports those living with MBC through a variety of patient-centered services, including:

  • Education: Hosting more than 26 educational events across the country over the past year through its MBC Impact Series – many of which were live-streamed so that people could benefit from the information, regardless of their ability to travel. Over the next year, the MBC Impact Series will include more than 55 events. In addition, Komen will provide educational resources to people living with early-stage breast cancer about the risk of recurrence and the signs and symptoms of recurrence to recognize and to report to their doctor.
  • Support: More than 700 people living with MBC received psychosocial support through Komen’s Breast Care and Clinical Trial Information Helplines last year. Anyone in need of these services can call 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636).
  • Financial Assistance: Over 900 people living with MBC received financial assistance through Komen’s Treatment Assistance Program last year. For information about this program, call 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636).
  • Advocacy: Komen mobilized advocates across the country to support more federal research funding, as well as federal and state policy changes that would remove barriers to care, particularly for those living with MBC. Become an Advocacy Insider to join the fight here: https://p2a.co/cgXisY6.

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About Susan G. Komen and Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast

Susan G. Komen® is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease across all fronts and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide.  We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, offer direct patient support and empower people with trustworthy information.  Born out of a promise between two sisters, Susan G. Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrow’s cures.

Komen NC Triangle to the Coast (NCTC) is helping fuel research, advocate for patients and support people facing breast cancer locally through a variety of direct patient-centered services and by collaborating with area providers to remove barriers and connect people to needed care across its 29-county service area. For more information, call (919) 493-2873 or visit www.komennctc.org.

Sean Tuffnell
Susan G. Komen®

Krista Park Berry
Komen NCTC