One in four patients with secondary breast cancer had to visit their GP three or more times before they got a diagnosis, a survey suggests.
A breast cancer charity said there should be more awareness that the disease can spread to other parts of the body.
GPs said they were doing their best for patients, but symptoms could be difficult to spot.
In the UK, 35,000 people are living with the incurable form of the disease.
Breast Cancer Now said it was “unacceptable” that some people whose cancer had spread were not getting early access to treatments which could alleviate symptoms and improve their quality of life.