Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day
Today, October 13th, is National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Too many women are living (often well and long) with this diagnosis, and their situation is very often overlooked and understated in the rush of pink and advertisements of the promised benefits of early detection. Here are a couple of excerpts from the Metastatic Breast Cancer Foundation's website and then their link:
Breast Cancer's False Narrative
"...the ugly, ugly truth that no one wants to talk about. There is no certainty with breast cancer. Once you have it, there is always a chance of recurrence. There is nothing a woman can do today -not even cut off her breasts - to completely eliminate her chance of dying of breast cancer. Despite the headlines in those women's magazines, there are no foods that "fight" breast cancer. Exercise, a healthy diet, limiting your alcohol consumption might reduce your risk, but only a little. Breast self-exams do not reduce breast cancer deaths, no matter how well you do them.
A woman does not get cancer because she did something wrong or wasn't vigilant enough about screening. Nor does a woman survive breast cancer because she's a "fighter" or has a positive attitude. If she survives it, it's because she was fortunate enough in her misfortune to get a type that responded to treatment.
Today, an estimated 150,000 Americans are living with metastatic breast cancer, but their stories are rarely the ones featured in the happy face articles. This October 13 is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. I think it's high time we gave these brave women (and men) their due."
EXCERPT FROM: "The Last Word on Nothing" blog by Christie Aschwanden | October 6, 2011
13 Facts Everyone Should Know about Metastatic Breast Cancer
1. No one dies from breast cancer that remains in the breast. The lump itself is not what kills. The metastasis of cancerous cells to a vital organ is what kills.
2. Metastasis refers to the spread of cancer to different parts of the body, typically the bones, liver, lungs and brain.
3. An estimated 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer accounts for approximately 40,000 deaths annually in the U.S.
4. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer is lifelong and focuses on control and quality of life vs. curative intent. ("Treatable but unbeatable.")
5. About 6% to 10% of people are Stage IV from their initial diagnosis.
6. Early detection is not a cure. Metastatic breast cancer can occur ANY time after a person's original diagnosis, EVEN if the patient was initially Stage 0, I, II or III and DESPITE getting annual checkups and annual mammograms.
7. Between 20% to 30% of people initially diagnosed with regional stage disease WILL develop metastatic breast cancer.
8. Young people DO get metastatic breast cancer.
9. There are many different kinds of metastatic breast cancer.
10. Treatment choices for MBC are guided by hormone (ER/PR) and HER2 receptor status, location and extent of metastasis (visceral vs. nonvisceral), previous treatment and other factors.
11. Metastatic breast cancer isn't an automatic death sentence. Although most people will ultimately die of their disease, some can live long and productive lives.
12. There are no hard and fast prognostic statistics for metastatic breast cancer. Everyone's situation is unique, but according to the American Cancer Society, the 5 year survival rate for stage IV is around 20%.
13. October 13 is National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. To learn more about it as well as resources specifically for people with metastatic breast cancer see www. mbcn.org. We appreciate your support on October 13 and throughout the year.