Ask a Nurse
posted by Cancer Nurse
13 October 2023

Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

October 13th 2023 is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Metastatic breast cancer is when breast cancer cells have spread to another part of your body. This is also described as advanced breast cancer, secondary breast cancer or stage 4 breast cancer.

With long term treatment many people with metastatic breast cancer will have a good quality of life while continuing treatment for many years. Even though your cancer cannot be cured treatments may be offered to prevent the cancer from worsening.

Living with a long-term disease and treatment can be challenging at times. Each person will have different needs and challenges. It is important for people to be aware of how their cancer is impacting them and seek support when needed.

It can be helpful to spend a little extra time looking after yourself. Eating well and trying to maintain a healthy weight can help you feel better. When you feel able, a balanced diet including a variety of food to provide nutrients is best. A balanced diet can improve your energy and strength, can help you tolerate the dose of some drugs given, and can help people cope better with the side effects of treatment. Our Diet and Cancer book offers more helpful information: Understanding Series (

Exercise offers many physical benefits such as increased energy levels and improved fitness. Regular light exercise can also help manage side effects of cancer treatment such as fatigue, pain, nausea, anxiety and stress. As the impact of metastatic breast cancer can be different for each person, the types of exercise and the frequency may differ. Chat to your team about what may be best suited for you.

A metastatic breast cancer diagnosis can impact us emotionally. Some find that talking with family and friends about their emotions can be helpful. Others may find that talking with someone such as a health professional or a trained counsellor may help. You can speak with one of the cancer nurses on our Support Line at any stage. We can also refer you to our counselling service if you would like to speak with a counsellor.

If you would like to speak to a cancer nurse or to get advice or support you can call our Support Line on 1800 200 700, Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm.

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