Many women with secondary breast cancer feel isolated because the disease is widely misunderstood, a charity has said.
Women will not receive the support they need until there is better understanding of the disease, Breast Cancer Care said.
Half of Britons admitted they do not know what secondary breast cancer is or mistakenly think that it is not life threatening, according to a poll conducted by the charity on 2,000 British adults.
About 36,000 people in the UK have secondary breast cancer.
The disease occurs when breast cancer cells spread from the first, primary cancer in the breast to another part of the body.
Samia al Qadhi, chief executive of Breast Cancer Care, said: “We know from the many women we support and talk to that so many living with secondary breast cancer continue to experience a very real sense of isolation and do not get the level of support offered to those with a primary breast cancer diagnosis.
“Many are trying to lead their lives as normally as possible, whilst also managing side-effects, living with uncertainty day to day, thinking about their family’s future and making difficult decisions about end-of-life care.
“We know that until there is greater understanding about secondary breast cancer, people living with the diagnosis may not receive the support they need.”