About This Project
An estimated 150,000 to 250,000 women in the U.S. are currently living with metastatic breast cancer—an incurable condition. These individuals have few treatment options, and their median survival is three years. In fact, the number of number of women dying from metastatic breast cancer has remained steady at about 40,000 annually since the 1970s.
While breast cancer is a high-profile disease, receiving significant private and public research funding and focused awareness and prevention initiatives, patients with metastatic breast cancer face unique challenges. According to the Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Alliance “public messaging about the [breast cancer] ‘cure’ and survivorship is so pervasive that people diagnosed at stage IV with metastatic breast cancer can be stigmatized by the perception that they’ve failed to take care of themselves or undergo annual screening.” In addition, many metastatic breast cancer patients face a number of communication challenges, including:
- A perception that their cancer is curable, driven in part by a low-level of engagement during conversations with providers
- Providers who use overly vague or overly technical medical language
- Providers who may “minimize” the severity of the disease, perhaps in efforts to reduce patient distress or help patients stay positive, engaged, and compliant with treatment recommendations.
With this education project, ACCC seeks to address these challenges. Specific project goals are to:
- expand the current breast cancer conversation to address gaps between early and metastatic disease and
- improve the treatment and management of metastatic breast cancer in the community setting.
The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) promotes the entire continuum of quality cancer care for our patients and our communities. Since 1974, ACCC has been helping oncology professionals adapt to the complex changes of delivering quality cancer care.
ACCC members rely on the Association to bring them information on cancer program management, reimbursement issues, legislative and regulatory changes at the state and national levels, community cancer program standards, NCI-funded community clinical research, hospital alliances and physician relationships, and more.
Approximately 23,000 cancer care professionals from 2,500 hospitals and practices nationwide are members of ACCC. It is estimated that 65 percent of the nation’s cancer patients are treated by a member of ACCC.