Metastatic Breast Cancer, or Stage IV Breast Cancer is for the most part a death sentence to those who have the misfortune of having their breast cancer return and begin migrating to other parts of the body. What words can possibly be spoken between a husband and wife to make the diagnosis OK? What feelings become part of the overwhelming desire to live the rest of life, to its absolute fullest? How can you possibly explain to someone else how you are feeling in that moment? How do you prepare children, parents and spouse for the inevitable, having no idea whether you have 2 days, 2-years or exactly when your time is up? How do you prepare yourself?
“UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN FACED WITH THESE LIFE ENDING AND TRAUMATIC QUESTIONS, YOU REALLY HAVE NO CLUE HOW A STAGE IV MBC PATIENT FEELS”
October is a celebration of everything pink including ribbons, t-shirts, hats, coats, jewelry, boots and often pink hair in walk-a-thons. At Cancer Horizons we celebrate life in every way, encouraging awareness and early prevention for all types of cancer. There is one group however, who feels the pink celebration is a stab to the heart, this growing group of women have MBC or Metastatic Breast cancer also known as Stage 4 breast cancer. At one point, they had hope, faith, and trusted in medical advisers that their cancer was under control. Unfortunately, statistics show 20% – 30% of the women battling stage 0-3 breast cancer will find it return in later years potentially in the form of MBC or Metastatic Breast Cancer – meaning the breast cancer has returned and is classified as stage IV breast cancer that has spread to other organs in the body, mostly bones, lungs, liver and/or brain.
For anyone that has received the debilitating news about the return of the breast cancer in this form, is the definition of “life altering”. This elite club is certainly not one that anyone would ever expect to be in or wanted membership in, especially as what they face is worse than what they have already experienced. The fear of the unknown becomes a constant companion day in and day out. Besides the emotional drain on everyone in the family, the financial drain on resources can be as debilitating as the cancer itself. Although we have heard of extraordinary cases where a stage IV breast cancer patient returns to full health, the prognosis is otherwise discouraging.
Stated one woman with MBC
“There is no cure for mets, we feel like cast-offs in the pink ribbon world. The research funding is pennies on the dollar for Stage Four. Most of the research ‘pink’ money goes to Stage 0-3. These are the women that will survive. They are the ‘winners’ that will wear the pink sash. Not to put them down, I was one of them before I was re-diagnosed five years later with mets. What an eye opener to find myself on another planet. Our incurable condition will generate anxiety in those around us, including Stage 0-3 cancer patients. Which means, we are avoided! It’s best to stay with our mets groups and not hangout with other ‘regular’ breast cancer groups.”
Researchers Say They Could Find Solutions
Many researchers believe that they could develop treatments that could significantly help extend lives and possibly save lives if research were equitably funded. Our hope is that 30% of breast cancer research funds will go into metastatic breast cancer research to find solutions for the 30% of patients who metastasize
Cancer Horizons is throwing our hat in this ring on behalf of the 1000’s that are diagnosed with MBC, those waiting and suffering all along the way. We believe there is more that can be done for this tremendous group of women and will certainly reach out to other organizations to see how we can assist them in their noble efforts on behalf of those fighting to live just 1-more day. Organizations like METAVIVOR Research and Support, Inc. (Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness, Research and Support) located at www.metavivor.org will get our full support.
Image Credit – http://www.metavivor.org/