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Metastatic Breast Cancer: Patients Share Their Advice

Health Central and journalist Sunny Sea Gold recently asked some MBC patients what they would like their loved ones and newly diagnosed patients to know about the disease.  Here is the respondents–who have been living with MBC—for three, six, even 23 years—had to say.

Patient to Patient: Statistics Do Not Dictate Your Journey

“What has stuck with me during my 16 years of living with metastatic breast cancer is ‘You are a statistic of one.’ I especially think of this when I hear that a friend with my type of metastatic disease has passed away,” says Shirley Mertz, chair of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. The five-year average relative survival rate for MBC may be 27 percent, but how long an individual patient lives depends on a huge number of factors including age, type of tumor, general health, treatments and how much the cancer responds to them, according to the American Cancer Society). Remember, your illness and experience is unique to you.


Seek an NCI Cancer Center If You Can

Along with finding a oncological breast specialist, seek care at a top research and/or teaching hospital. “I wish I had started at an National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. They are on the cutting edge of research, the best of the best,” says Katherine O’Brien a patient advocate with MBCN who was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in 2009. “You can find a list online. If it’s impractical to pursue care at an NCI center, you can at least seek a second opinion at one.”

Read the article in its entirety here: https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/metastatic-breast-cancer-advice#slide=5