'We must do more to support women with breast cancer'
The survival rate for women who have breast cancer that spreads to other parts of the body is on average two to three years, according to a new report.
The Global Status of Metastatic Breast Cancer report said that, despite advances in the treatment of the disease, around 30pc of women initially diagnosed with earlier stage breast cancer eventually develop recurrent advanced or metastatic disease where it spreads.
Cancer specialist Professor John Crown said: "While metastatic breast cancer remains a usually incurable disease, most patients are now achieving years of survival. With this expectation of longer life come special challenges. The physical toll of the illness and its treatment is frequently compounded by the psychological effects of loss of independence, change in body image and an uncertain future.
"Society needs to recognise the unique needs of these women who will live every remaining day of their lives under the shadow of this serious illness. While newer, less toxic treatments offer the promise of longer and better life, more also needs to be done to provide support for a condition which can be notoriously isolating and indeed stigmatising."