We were happy to help Beth Greenfield with this Oct 13 article. In addition to commenting, we provided background material on metastatic breast cancer and helped Beth connect with other MBC advocates. Thanks to all who have shared their stories! A brief excerpt follows:
“People want to hear about success stories, survival stories,” Katherine O’Brien, 53, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She’s an advocate with the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, founded for support and education in 2004, after a small group of women with MBC were asked to leave a general breast cancer conference. She’s been living with “mets,” as many call it, since 2009. “People don’t want to hear about ‘well, yes, I’m still alive, but each successive treatment brings its own challenges…’ That’s not exactly a joyful story.”
MBC is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lungs, liver or brain. It’s the most advanced stage of breast cancer, also called stage-4, and is not curable, only treatable — through hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or other drugs, all of which focus on length and quality of life.
When someone has breast cancer that remains in the breast, it can be treated, and, in the majority of cases, never reappear. But an estimated 20 to 30 percent of people initially diagnosed with early-stage disease will see the cancer recur, or become metastasized, sometimes up to 15 years later; only about five percent of people with MBC will be metastatic at initial diagnosis.
While being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is not an instant death sentence, most will ultimately die of the disease; it accounts for approximately 40,000 deaths a year in the U.S. It can affect men and women, both old and young.