Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Metastatic Breast Cancer Day

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

So many of us – myself included – are a little over the pink ribbons. (For the record, the blog has a lot of pink on it ONLY because it’s my favorite color!) The awareness movement began because there was a need for – well – awareness. No one discussed breast cancer. It was taboo. The Silver Lining is that the founding members of the original breast cancer awareness campaign did a phenomenal – absolutely outstanding! – job because at this point, who isn’t “aware” of FBC (though I haven’t heard it spoken publicly with an f-bomb before it! Just sayin’.)?

The thing that many/most people are unaware of when when comes to breast cancer is metastatic breast cancer. So, there is a new movement upon us. And it is an important one. Today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness day. I really wish that this day didn’t exist. But it does.

In case you’re wondering, metastatic breast cancer, also known as mbc, stage IV or Advanced Breast Cancer, is cancer that has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes under the arm. The most common sites of metastases are the bones, lungs, liver and brain.

The thing of it is that no one dies from breast cancer that remains in the breast. The lump itself is not what kills. The spread of cancerous cells to a vital organ is what kills. This is called metastasis.

People living with metastatic breast cancer face a unique set of challenges. In fact, I’m going to dedicate an entire post on this very topic because it is so very important.

What I’d like to share with you today is a list of 12 important facts about metastatic breast cancer from the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network: 

  1. No one dies from breast cancer that remains in the breast. Metastasis occurs when cancerous cells travel to a vital organ and that is what threatens life.
  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 of the disease and quality of life.
  5. About 6% to 10% of people are Stage IV from their initial diagnosis.
  6. Early detection does not guarantee a cure. Metastatic breast cancer can occur 5, 10 or 15 years after a person’s original diagnosis and successful treatment checkups and annual mammograms.
  7. 20% to 30% of people initially diagnosed with early stage disease will develop metastatic breast cancer.
  8. Young people, as well as men, can be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
  9. Like early stage breast cancer, there are different types of metastatic breast cancer.
  10. Treatment choices are guided by breast cancer type, location and extent of metastasis in the body, previous treatments and other factors.
  11. Metastatic breast cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Although most people will ultimately die of their disease, some will live long and productive lives.
  12. There are no definitive prognostic statistics for metastatic breast cancer. Every patient and their disease is unique.

To learn more about National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on October 13 and to access resources specifically for people living with metastatic breast cancer and their caregivers, visit www.mbcn.org.

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Comments

  1. says

    I was amazed by these statistics. I don't think my oncologist every really gave them to me. They are very scary. I feel there is so much confusion around early stage breast cancer and the word cure. I think most of the world thinks that stage 1 is no big deal and curable. This is a real reminder to get busy living and enjoy every moment. Albeit very nerve wracking!!!!

  2. Carolee Groux says

    These are some scary statistics, but getting a cancer diagnosis is scary business! These statistics are what worry us, and make us ever vigilant about our mammograms and health check-ups. Still, when I hear these percentages of recurrence and MBC it makes me feel like I am on the edge of a precipice and could fall at any moment.

  3. Isa says

    Hola! H,

    After the typical one year routine mammogram last week, I got a called from my Dr.'s office, to let me know, they wanted to do a second round of studies, this time with a breast ultrasound included. I tried very hard all week to be as a calm as swiss lake, but I would be totally lying, if I did not confess, I was a "little" scared, the "little" part rocketed to full Orange Alert, when the uber kind and sweet sonographer, asked me to remain laid down, for a few more minutes, until the radiologist came to see me. I'll tell you those were the longest 3:46 minutes of my life. Long story~ two Fibroadenomas later in my left breast, allowed me to feel my blood flowing again, next short term step a biopsy to wrangle those two little suckers in, long term step, start NOW to take better care of myself.

    The AWARENESS you have brought to so many of us with the sterling ink of your blog, is something I am always so deeply grateful for.

    xxx

    • says

      Oh Isa, reading the first part of your note was so eerie…what an incredible Silver Lining to hear that you are a-ok and are motivated to take care of yourself!! Be well. xx

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