When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body from the breast, it is called secondary breast cancer. At this stage, although it can be managed, it is incurable. We believe research holds the key to saving these lives.

What is our secondary breast cancer research about?

Our researchers work tirelessly to understand what we need to do to stop secondary breast cancer in its tracks.

Our research into secondary breast cancer covers many different topics, from understanding how secondary breast cancer develops and looking for ways to prevent it, to finding better treatments and better ways to support people with the disease. And beyond this research which focuses on developing new treatments specifically designed for secondary breast cancer, we also hope that further areas of breast cancer research that we fund could also lead to new treatments that women with secondary breast cancer could benefit from.

Here are some examples of research happening right now:

  • Dr Damir Vareslija is studying how breast cancer spreads to the brain in the hope to reveal new treatment options to stop the disease spreading.
  • Professor Nicholas Turner is testing a new drug for secondary lobular breast cancer in a clinical trial ROLO.
  • Professor Gary Cook is developing a new way to tell, at an early stage, whether a treatment is successfully controlling secondary breast cancer in the bone.

You can also see the list of our research projects into secondary breast cancer.

What have we achieved?

  • Our researchers have also found that arthritis drugs could prevent breast cancer from spreading to the bone in mice. Researchers think that clinical trials to see if it can stop secondary breast cancer developing in the bone could start in two to three years.
  • Based on the results from Breast Cancer Now LEGACY study, researchers have developed a 'molecular clock' blood test that can track the growth of multiple tumours around the body. It could help identify the most actively growing tumours and guide treatment. Scientists believe that this new test would be highly sensitive and relatively cheap to perform, as it doesn’t require any previous knowledge of cancer’s genetic make-up. But it needs to be developed further before it can reach clinics.

Read more about our research achievements aimed at stopping deaths from breast cancer.

We need research more than ever

Breast cancer is affecting more of us than ever before. Every day, around 150 people in the UK hear the words ‘it’s breast cancer’. To stop people dying from the disease, we need to understand it better. We need research.

And we always want to do so much more, but we can’t without your help.