What you should know about metastatic breast cancer (mBC)

mBC, also known as “advanced breast cancer,” is cancer that starts in the breast tissue and then spreads to other parts of the body. Cancer cells break away from the breast and travel through the lymph system or blood vessels to another place (usually the bones, lungs, liver, or brain).

Breast cancer community groups and other support groups
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You are not alone—there are people going through similar experiences who may be able to provide guidance and support for you. You can connect with them through these organizations.

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Information is also available for your family and friends as they support you through your diagnosis and treatment.

Subtypes and receptor status

There are different subtypes of breast cancer. Each subtype behaves and responds to treatment in a different way. Because of this, your treatment for breast cancer will depend on what subtype of the disease you have. A doctor can determine the subtype of the disease by looking at a sample of your breast tissue.

Each subtype has specific receptors that encourage cancer growth. Receptors include

  • Estrogen receptor (ER)
  • Progesterone receptor (PR)
  • Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu)

If the cancer has a specific type of receptor, it is positive for that receptor. For example, a cancer with the hormone receptor ER is called ER-positive, or ER+, disease. A cancer may be positive for more than one type of receptor. This means that your disease can have the following receptor statuses:

  • ER +/-
  • PR +/-
  • HER2/neu +/-

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)

It is also possible for a cancer to be negative for all 3 receptors. This type of cancer is called triple-negative disease. When breast cancer is triple-negative, it means that there are no estrogen, progesterone, or HER2/neu receptors in the tumor cells telling the cancer to grow. TNBC is considered to be more aggressive because it is more likely to spread and also more likely to come back after treatment. TNBC is often treated with a chemotherapy or with a combination of therapies.

It is important to talk to your doctor about the treatment options available to you based on the receptor status of your cancer.

HALAVEN® is a chemotherapy that was studied in women with metastatic breast cancer with all types of receptor statuses.