In the world known as breast cancer awareness are the women with metastatic breast cancer trying to navigate their way through the tangled tsunami of pink ribbons. These are the women (and men) with metastatic (Stage IV) breast cancer:cancer that originates in the breast, but navigates (or metastasizes) to another part of the body, usually bone, brain, liver, or lung. It is when the cancer travels that it is the most lethal.
Here are some facts about MBC:
1. There are approximately 155,000 people living with metastatic breast cancer in the US (although no good data is kept).
2. Only $2 out of every $100 raised for research goes to metastatic breast cancer in the US. (It’s about $5 in Europe)
3. 6-10% of all those newly diagnosed are Stage IV. In the US that’s approximately 24,000 yearly.
4. 20-30% of all those diagnosed with any stage of breast cancer (0-3) will go on to develop Stage IV down the line.
5. You can be determined to have No Evidence of Disease (NED) from Stage IV. The best way to keep cancer at bay, is to get the three areas of your life (body, mind and spirit) as healthy as possible.
Read more facts here.
There is no “cure” for breast cancer of any stage, contrary to the words my doctor spoke to me when I started treatment for stage III invasive breast cancer. “Susan, we’re going for a cure here.”
There was no way that she could guarantee that I wouldn’t be the 20-30% who will go on to develop Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. But then again, there was no way she could tell me why I had gotten it in the first place. My chances of being diagnosed with any stage breast cancer at the time of my diagnosis was 0.7% as determined by the National Cancer Institute.
There are those who live in such a way that the cancer tumors in their lungs, liver bone or brain, shrinks and disappears….so much so that they get to hear the words every metastatic breast cancer patient wants to hear: No Evidence of Disease. One such person is Sherry Bishop. Sherry discovered the recipe to a happy healthy life after being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. She is an active crusader for more funding for metastatic breast cancer research funds. She was gracious enough to tell her story last year on this site. Her story is amazing, but there are stories like these everywhere.
The same lifestyle that I and many others promote for avoiding recurrence of cancer is the same lifestyle Sherry found was effective in shrinking the tumors that threatened her health and life. That is, taking stock of what she was putting in and on her body, searching for a balance of her spirit, and using her mind to help heal.
These are exactly the lifestyle choices promoted in 100 Perks of Having Cancer plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It.
I have been blasted by some metastatic breast cancer organizations and individuals who see my lifestyle promotion as giving false hope. How can hope be false when there are plenty of people who are actually doing it and living happy and healthy??! It IS possible! That’s the truth!
Spread the awareness!
Thanks for reading!