If breast cancer has taken someone you love, chances are it was stage IV breast cancer that killed her. Stage IV, or metastatic breast cancer, is cancer that has spread to the bones, lungs, liver or brain. This is breast cancer in its deadly form.
“Stage” is a label describing where in the body the cancer begins, and how much of the body outside of the breast is affected.
According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rates for stages I, II and III breast cancer are 100 percent, 93 percent and 72 percent respectively, and not all early stage breast cancers will advance to stage IV.
You can read more about breast cancer staging here.
In contrast, 75 percent of people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer will die of the disease within five years.
If you are passionate about finding a cure for breast cancer, you likely have donated money or raced for the cure.
The camaraderie of survivors and loved ones of survivors, the women in pink, and the pink ribbon-festooned products, have raised awareness about breast cancer and brought it into everyday conversation.
But very little of the money raised goes towards the breast cancer that will kill you.
To get specific, the Nation Cancer Institute reports that of the $4.9 billion dollars raised annually for cancer research, only $559.2 million went specifically to breast cancer research.
Of all the money allocated to breast cancer research, a mere 5 percent of that goes specifically towards research for metastatic breast cancer, according to The European Journal of Cancer.