The time is now to begin the next phase of the breast cancer movement, where all people living with breast cancer – the early, the advanced and the metastatic – feel equally embraced.

Click below to learn more about the photo essay initiative.

The Initiative

About Story Half Told

AboutStory Half Told

Breast Cancer: A Story Half Told is an initiative by Pfizer in partnership with advocates, patients and healthcare professionals that aims to elevate public understanding of metastatic breast cancer (MBC), dispel misperceptions, combat stigma and expand the breast cancer conversation to be more inclusive of metastatic breast cancer.

The initiative launched in 2014 to spotlight the misperceptions that surround metastatic breast cancer and focused on supporting people with breast cancer, including those with metastatic disease, in multiple aspects of their lives – the doctor’s office, the workplace and in society at large. This new chapter aims to address the lack of understanding about metastatic breast cancer by featuring the stories of those living with this disease.

Story Half Told highlights our program participants, who have been chronicled by well-known photographers as they share the realities and joys of their day-to-day lives. In 2018, Story Half Told expanded the conversation with the launch of Community Stories, a larger platform through which we encourage the broader MBC community to share experiences, tips or words of inspiration.

AboutMetastatic Breast Cancer

Awareness of Early Stage Breast Cancer Is High, but Knowledge of Metastatic Breast Cancer Is Low

Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage of breast cancer (stage IV), in which cancer has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body. Even when diagnosed at an early stage, up to 30 percent of women with early stage breast cancer will eventually progress to metastatic disease.2 The median survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is estimated to be 3 years.3 However, every metastatic breast cancer patient is unique and therefore experiences may vary. Males also have breast cells and tissue. These cells and tissue can develop cancer.

Rather than a single disease with uniform characteristics, breast cancer embodies many diseases, each with different biological and clinical traits. This is even the case within the different stages of breast cancer.

The emotional toll of metastatic disease can be profound, and can transcend into the ways people feel about themselves, communicate with others, and live their lives.4,5 If you want to learn more about metastatic breast cancer, see the Story Half Told Resources Page.

Click on an image to enlarge and download infographics related to health equity, male breast cancer and MBC.

AboutHereditary Breast Cancers

Some breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child. Most inherited cases of breast cancer are associated with mutations in two genes: BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene one) and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene two).8 Together BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for about 25 to 30 percent of hereditary breast cancers, and approximately three to six percent of all breast cancers.9-13

Genetic testing may be appropriate following a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis to determine if the cancer is hereditary. While the emotional strain of metastatic disease is immense, testing positive for hereditary breast cancer may cause its own range of emotions with implications for family members. Genetic counselors, other healthcare professionals, and patient advocates can offer support and advice to navigate the personal and family decisions resulting from a hereditary breast cancer diagnosis. If you want to learn more about hereditary breast cancer see the Story Half Told Resources Page.

About ThePhoto Essay Initiative

As part of the initiative, Pfizer has commissioned well known photographers to capture the daily lives of people living with metastatic breast cancer. While these photographs document the realities of metastatic breast cancer, their purpose is to show how people with metastatic breast cancer are living their lives to the fullest.

Meet the participants

[1] Source: National Omnibus Breast Cancer Survey, sponsored by Pfizer Oncology, April 2014

[2] Source: O’Shaughnessy J. Extending survival with chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer. The Oncologist. 2005

[3] Mariotto AB, Etzioni R, Hurlbert M, et al. Estimation of the Number of Women Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer in the United States.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. May 2017; DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0889

[4] Source: Pfizer Inc. Bridging Gaps, Expanding Outreach – MBC Patient Survey. 2009.

[5] Source: Mayer M, Grober S. Silent voices: women with advanced (metastatic) breast cancer share their needs and preferences for information, support and practical services. Research Report. Living Beyond Breast Cancer. 2006.

[6] American Cancer Society. Cancer facts & figures for Hispanics/Latinos 2015-2017. Accessed January 30, 2018.

[7] American Cancer Society. About Breast Cancer in Men. Accessed February 10, 2017

[8] National Cancer Institute. BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer risk and genetic testing. Accessed November 28, 2017.

[9] Kleibl Z, Kristensen VN. Women at high risk of breast cancer: molecular characteristics, clinical presentation and management. Breast. 2016;136-144.

[10]Meynard G, Villanueva C, Thiery-Vuillemin A, Mansi L, Montcuquet P, Meneveau N, et al. 284P Real-life study of BRCA genetic screening in metastatic breast cancer. Ann Oncol 2017;28(suppl_5):mdx365.047.

[11]Fasching PA, Hu C, Hart SN, Polley EC, Lee KY, Gnanolivu RD, et al. Cancer predisposition genes in metastatic breast cancer – association with metastatic pattern, prognosis, patient and tumor characteristics. Presented at 40th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; 5-9 Dec 2017; Texas: USA. PD1-02. 2017.

[12]Nelson HD, Fu R, Goddard K, Mitchell JP, Okinaka-Hu L, Pappas M, et al. Risk assessment, genetic counseling, and genetic testing for BRCA-related cancer: systematic review to update the U.S. preventive services task force recommendation: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality, 2014. 366p. Available from:

[13]Tung N, Lin NU, Kidd J, Allen BA, Singh N, Wenstrup RJ, et al. Frequency of germline mutations in 25 cancer susceptibility genes in a sequential series of patients with breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2016;34(13):1460-8.

[14]National Cancer Institute. BRCA mutations: Cancer risk and genetic testing. Accessed 2018.

Find Out More

Meet the Participants
Community Stories

Click Below to Explore the Work Being Done byOur Partners in Metastatic Breast Cancer

  • Learn more about metastatic breast cancer through our partners
  • Learn more about metastatic breast cancer through our partners
  • Learn more about metastatic breast cancer through our partners
  • Learn more about metastatic breast cancer through our partners
  • Learn more about metastatic breast cancer through our partners