October is Breast Cancer Awareness (Action) Month.
October 13 is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. We get one day.
Metastatic Breast Cancer has it’s own ribbon: green, teal and pink. The green represents renewal, hope and immortality, teal symbolizes healing and spirituality, and pink signifies the metastatic cancer originated in the breast.
Tonight, landmarks across the U.S. will light up in the green, teal, and pink. The #LightUpMBC campaign, by Metavivor, is raising both awareness of and money for research of MBC. You can learn more about the #LightUpMBC campaign here. Find a landmark near you!
MBC does not discriminate. Anyone can get it.
Approximately 30% of early stage breast cancer survivors will have a recurrence as metastatic disease, even after completing successful treatment. I was “successfully” treated for Stage 0 breast cancer in 2009, only to have it return as stage 4 in 2019.
685,000 people a year die from metastatic breast cancer globally. In the U.S. ~42,000 people die annually, that is 115 people every day.
Right now it is estimated that only 22% of U.S. MBC patients live longer than 5 years, and only 11% of live longer than 10 years. (I’m confident this number is now higher and more and more people are living longer due to advances in research and treatment and how the survival number is calculated.)
However, there is NO CURE for MBC.
I will be taking medication for the rest of my life. Eventually the cancer figures out how to outsmart the medication so you have to move to another option. We need more research for both treatment options and something to get us to a cure.
In the late 1970s my dear aunt, Jeanne, died from Metastatic Breast Cancer. She was treated in the 60s, “cured,” with a recurrence that was terminal. Fast forward 40+ years. Still no cure. More people (mostly women, but men also) dying annually from MBC.
If you can support MBC research, please join me in supporting the #LightUpMBC campaign. You can donate here: https://donate.metavivor.org/fundraiser/3935528
If you cannot donate, please share information about MBC with at least one other person.
If you are willing to advocate for more research and support for MBC, explore the National Breast Cancer Coalition: https://www.stopbreastcancer.org/
On a personal note: yesterday I went back to the cancer center to have bloodwork checked. My immune system has recovered enough to start taking Ibrance again. I’ll have another check in 3 weeks where they will determine if I can stay on the same dose, or need to reduce.
I’ll have scans before that appointment to see if all the medications are working to keep the cancer quiet.
I had an MRI of my back last week to try to figure out why I have intermittent, debilitating pain. No new information. Very frustrating. Fortunately for the moment, my back is feeling better.
* Ibrance, 125 mg (oral meds)
* Fluvestrant (monthly shots)
* Lupron (monthly shot)
* Zometa (quarterly infustion
Thanks so much for the reminder and the update. While in my teens, I lost my Godmother, Anna, and in my early twenties I lost my Aunt Bertha, both to the ravages of breast cancer. It is so sad that all these decades later there hasn’t been more progress to prevent and eliminate this disease.
Thanks also for the progress report on your own personal battle. Hope this finds you on a good day, and that you are feeling less discomfort. Thinking of you, always.
Janice & Charlie