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Grow our MBC Fund

This fund is an ongoing and targeted initiative to fund support
for and research in metastatic breast cancer.

Why we need an MBC specific Fund

MBC is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, resulting when cancer cells that originated in the breast grow in other parts of the body. Metastasis is most commonly found in the bones, lung, liver and brain, but can occur in any tissue or organ of the body. Metastasis can occur right away or many years after the initial diagnosis. Patients with MBC can be as varied as the general population, affecting people of all ages, races, genders and abilities.

In the vast majority of cases, there is currently no cure and clinical outcomes for MBC have been stalled for over a decade. It is estimated that 5,000 women in Canada die from MBC every year.

People with MBC have unique needs and concerns that too often aren’t represented, understood or acknowledged.  Rethink’s MBC Fund will address the gaps and specific needs of those with MBC through support and research programs. The Fund will be generated through contributions from individuals, corporate donors and fundraising activities.

How we allocate funds

Donations to the MBC Fund is allocated to projects, campaigns and initiatives that support people living with MBC and align with the priorities outlined by Rethink’s MBC Advisory Board, which is comprised of young women living with breast cancer and caregivers. Rethink staff make recommendations to allocate the funds available and seek feedback from the MBC Advisory Board and Rethink’s Scientific Advisory Committee.Rethink’s Board of Director approves all financial allocations.

MBC Initiatives

NEWIn 2021, Rethink partnered with Pfizer Canada to launch a joint research program to fund pioneering research in metastatic breast cancer that has the potential to advance care and improve outcomes for people living with metastatic breast cancer. The areas of interest were determined by patients for patients, through collaboration and input from the MBC Advisory Board, and inspired by the James Lind Alliance Top 10 research priorities for MBC.

July 26, 2021—Rethink Breast Cancer and Pfizer Canada have committed to funding the following research proposals, with nearly $270,000 in research grants, for the implementation of innovative strategies aimed at measurably improving the quality of care of people living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC):

  • St Mary’s Research Centre (Quebec)—The systematic screening of patients’ symptoms and the challenges they face can serve as a tool to improve patients’ lives. The goal of this program is to implement an electronic patient-reported outcome symptom screening and management program for better tailored treatment and care of women with MBC.⁠⁠
  • Tom Baker Cancer Centre (Alberta)—This program will create & deliver an evidenced-based forum of MBC-related topics to patients living with and undergoing treatment for MBC by experts in the field of breast oncology. The goal of the program is to empower patients in the shared decision-making process related to their care.⁠⁠
  • BC Cancer Vancouver — This program will aim to improve the quality of care for older people living with MBC. A dedicated nurse navigator will work with patients, caregivers and health care professionals to match patients with resources that best meet their needs. The project will examine if this intervention improves the quality of life of elderly patients and their caregivers.⁠⁠

Grant recipients were determined by a joint review panel comprised of Pfizer Canada & Rethink representatives and members of Rethink’s Metastatic Advisory Board.⁠⁠

⁠⁠“The programs funded by these grants are so important for the MBC community and are an important component of our ongoing work,” says Nathalie Baudais, MBC thriver, cancer research advocate, and co-chair of Rethink’s Metastatic Advisory Board. “We know the value of engaging patients and their caregivers in their health and decision-making, and we look forward to seeing how this can be further encouraged and implemented.”

Read the full press release here.

Highlights of MBC-focused projects to date include:

Talking to Kids About Metastatic Breast Cancer, a digital and hard copy resource developed by Morgan Livingstone

The Sh*t List—a digital and hard copy resource developed by MBC Board member Tasha Westerman

#MakeMBCCount campaign aimed at addressing the gap in MBC data collection statistics in Canada and ensuring individuals living with MBC can fully participate in cancer-related trials and studies

• The Live Laugh Learn video series

We are grateful to those who have supported the MBC Fund and all that it does to support people living with MBC. Learn more about some of the fundraising efforts that have contributed to the MBC fund:

Turning The Page On Cancer fundraiser

Be Tracy’s Ally, a Chalk Circle and Friends Concert

Help us #MakeMBCCount, Become an MBC Ally

The number of women expected to get breast cancer in her lifetime: 1 in 8 
The number of women expected to be diagnosed with MBC in her lifetime: Unknown

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in for women globally, yet we don’t know how many people receive a stage 4, metastatic diagnosis each year. Why? Simply because the data is not being collected.

Most cancer registries around the world collect information about initial cancer diagnosis and mortality but do not document recurrences, which represent the majority of Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) cases.

Without this data, we cannot understand MBC. Who are these women? How long do they live? How many are under the age of 50? What is their experience?

It’s not okay. We all deserve more accurate and inclusive data about MBC.

Be an MBC Ally. Learn more and sign the Ally Pledge to let those with MBC know they count, here.


50 Carroll Street Toronto, Ontario Canada M4M 3G3
Phone: 416 220 0700
Registered Charity #: 892176116RR0001

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