© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature. This commentary was written as a collaboration between the Board of the Metastasis Research Society and two patients with metastatic breast cancer. It was conceived in response to how preclinical scientific research is sometimes presented to non-scientists in a way that can cause stress and confusion. Translation of preclinical findings to the clinic requires overcoming multiple barriers. This is irrespective of whether the findings relate to exciting responses to new therapies or problematic effects of currently used therapies. It is important that these barriers are understood and acknowledged when research findings are summarized for mainstream reporting. To minimize confusion, patients should continue to rely on their oncology care team to help them interpret whether research findings presented in mainstream media have relevance for their individual care. Researchers, both bench and clinical, should work together where possible to increase options for patients with metastatic disease, which is still in desperate need of effective therapeutic approaches.