Help us spread the word about Metastatic Breast Cancer. We need more for Stage IV.
My story began in January of 2012 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a day I’ll never forget – the January chill felt just a bit cooler. I then underwent the expected lumpectomy surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. For nine months of my life, I endured sickness, nausea and fought not for survival – for the gravitas of the situation hadn’t quite become real – but for just a normal day, a day without sickness, anxiety and fear. I endured.
Fast forward to June 2014, almost two years after my last radiation treatment I received a call I had been subconsciously dreading, a call I’d hoped I’d never ever get.
The breast cancer had metastasized, spread to my bones. “Metastatic breast cancer is incurable,” was the only thing I remember from that day. Now the real fight had begun. I had a terminal diagnosis. Terminal.
A terminal cancer diagnosis such as metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is emotionally challenging, but is also physically draining. So I decided to focus my days doing something that I loved. I am swimming across as many lakes as possible bringing awareness and funding to metastatic breast cancer—a poorly funded and all but forgotten branch of a deadly disease.
I swim for the all the other 150,000-250,000 women and men who have metastatic-stage IV breast cancer.
What is metastatic breast cancer?
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC, also know as Stage IV) is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body (most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain). No one dies from cancer in the breast; deaths are due to metastasis to other parts of the body. Once breast cancer has metastasized it is a terminal disease – THERE IS NO CURE.
Why we need your help?
For decades funding focused on prevention, awareness, and early detection.
Unfortunately early detection and subsequent treatments do not guarantee a cure. Metastatic breast cancer can occur 5, 10 or many years after a person’s original diagnosis. Less than 10% of all breast cancer research dollars goes towards Stage IV.
There has been no significant reduction in annual deaths from Metastatic Breast Cancer
TOP 10 PRIORITIES FOR MBC RESEARCH
- What biomarkers or intrinsic features of the tumour can be used to identify response to specific treatments and dosing schedules?
- What is the role of immunotherapy for metastatic breast cancer?
- How can treatment resistance be delayed, and minimized?
- What causes (i.e. cellular, genomic changes) breast cancer cells to metastasize, and what changes allow them to penetrate the blood-brain barrier?
- What is the right sequence of therapy in metastatic breast cancer?
- Does local therapy (radiation or surgery to sites of metastatic disease) improve survival outcomes in metastatic breast cancer?
- Is continuous treatment with systemic therapy (including HER2-targeted therapy and chemotherapy) better than intermittent treatment?
- Does early palliative care improve outcomes for metastatic breast cancer patients?
- What are the best methods of education for patients around treatment options and decision making that can lead to improved patient outcomes?
- Can safer, more accurate methods, including blood tests of detecting spread of disease (including following curative intent treatment) be developed?
When I asked my oncologist how long was the longest living metastatic breast cancer patient he had seen, his answer was 20 years. I told him I would beat that by one. 7777 equals a few more than those 21 years I will be hanging around to write this blog, swim lakes and love life. CLICK here to start reading.
10 THINGS YOUR FRIEND WITH MBC NEEDS YOU TO UNDERSTAND
If you’re like me, you like concrete how-tos, clear directions, tried and true recipes, do this-not that, that sort of thing. I want to know specifically how to be a good friend to those with MBC.
Lacking a map, I’ve decided to simply ask…The women I talked to were very happy to help me and now I have for you (and me) this list. CLICK here to read the list.