Metastatic breast cancer (MBC), or stage 4 breast cancer, starts in the breasts and spreads to other body parts.
Cancer metastasizes or spreads when it invades healthy cells or when the lymph system carries cancerous cells to other body parts.
About 5 percent of people who receive a breast cancer diagnosis receive an initial diagnosis of MBC.
Breast cancer can cause emotional, mental, and financial stress. Here are ways to manage this aspect of a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis.
What Are the Common Causes of Financial Stress?
Treatment for MBC can include:
You may also need targeted drug therapy or immunotherapy to strengthen your immune system, fight the cancer, and shrink or destroy cancerous cells.
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An MBC diagnosis affects people differently. Some people are more likely to feel a financial strain.
One cause of financial stress is a lack of health insurance.
A 2018 survey of more than 1,500 women with MBC found that approximately 35% didn’t have health insurance. Of those women, 70% were concerned about the financial impact of cancer.
Some people with MBC need treatment for life. The financial cost of stage 4 breast cancer can be much higher than stage 1 breast cancer. This can lead to an increase in financial stress.
Treatment costs may vary. The monthly cost of treating MBC is about $4,463, compared with only $2,418 for treating stage 1 breast cancer.
Common concerns of women who don’t have health insurance include: