Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic Breast Cancer
This post is about metastatic breast cancer, which my friend Mandi (who was the inspiration for my post about dogs wearing bow ties) has. She chronicles her journey on her Darn Good Lemonade blog. Mandi started this blog when she first had breast cancer. She uses it to help others dealing with this harsh disease not feel alone in their challenges.
So, what’s metastatic breast cancer? According to Mandi, “Stage IV breast cancer is called metastatic breast cancer because the cancer cells metastasize to other organs in the body. The primary locations for breast cancer to metastasize are bones, liver, lungs and brain.” In fact, once diagnosed, a person must confront it for the rest of their lives. They end up playing a game of Whack-o-Mole using treatments until they fail and then move onto another treatment. Eventually, either it or complications related to the disease will kill the person. In many cases, people die within several years of their metastatic diagnosis, and most of the time they are undergoing aggressive treatments including radiation and chemo that really affect their quality of life. Therefore, this is a vicious disease.
It is important to note that 30% of people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will eventually develop it — even if they fight the initial bout into remission. This happened to my friend. She’s one of an estimated 150,000 to 250,000 people in America — men, too — facing this disease.
While there is a lot of attention, awareness, and funding for early stage breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer only gets a fraction of that despite the large number of people who confront it. That’s where this blog post comes into the picture.
With the help of Pfizer and Heal Courageously, Mandi threw a blogger party to increase metastatic breast cancer awareness, and she invited me. (Yes, bow tie blogs are in the mix.) As an advocate for further research and awareness, she courageously embraces her life despite an increasing amount of health complications while promoting this important cause. That’s why we participated in a fun Thai cooking class, which is something she enjoys doing. We had fun while taking metastatic breast cancer seriously. I really admire her for enjoying life while also facing this disease.
In addition to great food and company, I learned more about this disease at the party. For example, here’s an interesting and sad tidbit. Men also get breast cancer, and that means that they also get metastatic breast cancer. Alan Blood, who also has metastatic breast cancer, spoke during the event as well. You can read more about his story at The Male Breast Cancer Coalition.
What You Can Do
This is a rather solemn blog post, and it is important to finish off with some things that we all can do to help.
First, ask Mandi about metastatic breast cancer. She wants to help people learn more about it. You can reach out to her on her blog, on the Darn Good Lemonade Facebook page, and on Twitter at @advertisinggeek.
Second, you can donate to organizations like Heal Courageously, which offers free professional photography to people facing life-threatening ailments. There are also organizations like METAvivor that focus on metastatic breast cancer awareness, research, and support. Getting involved and supporting such organizations will make a difference.
Third, stay tuned. I’ve got a bow tie related initiative in the works. Update: Bow Tie Fundraiser