Addressing Metastatic Breast Cancer

What is the SPARC Metastatic Breast Cancer programme?

SPARC awardees

Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer amongst women (2.1 million cases each year) accounting for almost 1 in 4 cancer cases. 

Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) is the most advanced stage of breast cancer and occurs when the disease spreads to other parts of the body such as lungs, brain, liver and bones. 

To tackle this growing cancer burden UICC launched the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC) Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Challenge in 2015. A grants programme, delivered in partnership with Pfizer

This initiative aims to empower advocacy groups, hospital networks and other non-for-profit organisations addressing the specific needs of MBC patients worldwide. SPARC supports the launch of new projects aiming at supporting MBC patients as well as reducing the number of women diagnosed at an advanced stage of breast cancer.  SPARC projects aim at reducing the patient information and support gap, growing awareness around the disease, influencing national policies and strengthening health systems. To date, 40 organisations in 30 countries have benefited from the SPARC MBC Challenge.  

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In 2019, ten additional organisations will be selected to receive a SPARC grant, bringing the SPARC network to a total of 50 organisations.

Read the official press release about the launch of the 3rd round of SPARC grants here​

UICC and Pfizer support these organisations to deliver effective and impactful projects by proving them with seed-funding, training, access to international events on MBC, mentorship and peer-to-peer learning.

A unique combination of funding, convening & learning

 Capacity building

  • Mentorship
  • Access to the SPARC Master Courses


  • Attendance to key events
  • International visibility and connections

 Seed funding

Financial support to start new projects

Our impact

Since 2015, SPARC has enabled more than 14’000 MBC patients to benefit from patient support groups, psychosocial interventions and navigation programmes. Over 140’000 people have been reached by MBC informational resources and awareness campaigns, and 2’300 professionals have been trained on palliative care, advocacy for MBC and patient navigation.  



SPARC Focus areas

  • Providing information and support: Improving the patient’s ability to navigate diagnosis, treatment and care services, and strengthening the level of social, economic, psychological and spiritual support for patients and their care givers. Projects can also focus on strengthening the healthcare professionals’ capacity to support the specific needs of MBC patients. 
  • Raising patient voices and awareness: Reducing stigma and increasing public awareness on MBC. Through increased awareness, these projects encourage earlier presentation and access to timely treatment to decrease the incidence of locally advanced and metastatic disease at first diagnosis. 
  • Policy and health systems: Engaging and providing policymakers with guidance on the unique challenges of metastatic disease through effective advocacy initiatives, including patients’ perspectives and needs.  

SPARC awardees

In 2015, 20 competitively selected organisations were supported to implement novel and sustainable projects addressing the unique challenges facing women with metastatic breast cancer in their country. In 2017, another 20 projects  benefitted from a new round of grants. 

The 2019 cohort has just been selected and you can discover the new 11 projects  that are soon to be launched.

Pfizer Oncology

The SPARC Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Challenge is a UICC grants programme, delivered in partnership with Pfizer. 



Last update: 
Wednesday 12 February 2020
More related SPARC news and info
UICC SPARC Awardees attend a workshop at the ABC5 conference in Lisbon
12 November 2019

Addressing the needs of people living with metastatic breast cancer

SPARC organisations gather at the Advanced Breast Cancer 5th International Consensus Conference in Lisbon, Portugal to exchange experiences on addressing the needs of people living with metastatic breast cancer.

Nthano Zathu Radio Drama Zambia
13 October 2019

11 cancer organisations selected for the 3rd round of the SPARC MBC Challenge

Since the launch of this initiative in 2015, more than US $1.5 million has been granted to cancer organisations in order to support projects addressing the needs of metastatic breast cancer patients.

2017 SPARC MBC Challenge awardees
16 July 2019

Excellence in SPARC projects recognised through top-up grants

Five organisations participating in the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC) Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Challenge have been selected to receive top-up grants, with a total of USD 25,000 additional funding to be provided. Through this funding, projects will be able to expand the reach and impact of their activities.