Living Well? Strategies Used by Women Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer Academic Article uri icon


  • Metastatic breast cancer is a disease of changing status-once an imminent death sentence, now a chronic (albeit incurable) disease. Medical intervention advances mean women with metastatic breast cancer now have symptoms alleviated and, potentially, life extended. Living with this disease, however, requires more than a medical approach to symptoms. We were interested to know whether women manage, and if so, how, to "live well" with metastatic cancer. We conducted interviews with 18 women. Women differed in the approaches they used. Most common was the attempt to reestablish a sense of normality in their lives. However, a second group reevaluated and reprioritized their lives; and a third group was restricted in their capacity to live well because of symptoms. The findings provide the foundation for future research exploring normalization of experiences of metastatic cancer, and other chronic illnesses, where people are living with knowledge that they have contracted time.

publication date

  • 2016