When I was first diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I wanted to set the world on fire.
This is where I am right now, trying to set the world on fire with advocacy and awareness. I hope I never lose my passion for speaking out and trying to get more funding for metastatic research. I hope that is my legacy, to set the world on fire.
So what have we learned this month?
30% of early stage breast cancers go on to become metastatic. Even Stage 0 is at risk. Once there is cancer in your body, you are at risk of developing metastasis. And there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer. Only treatments in hopes of prolonging your life. An additional 10% more are already metastatic from the time they're diagnosed. That means 40% of breast cancers are metastatic.
155,000 people in the USA are living with metastatic disease. The US cancer registry does NOT track breast cancer recurrence so there are no reliable numbers for how many new cases of metastasis get diagnosed each year.
40,000 people die from metastatic breast cancer in the USA annually. This number has not changed over the years. Despite all the early detection and awareness, the mortality rate of breast cancer has remained stable. We are no closer to a cure than we were 40 years ago.
Only 2% of the funding for breast cancer goes to metastatic research. All the rest goes to early detection and awareness programs, and of course, company overheads and CEO pockets. If you want to make a difference with metastatic research, be sure to donate to a company where 100% of the donations go to metastatic breast cancer, like METAvivor.
The average length of survival for people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is 3 years.
The primary locations of breast cancer metastasis are: brain, bones, liver, lungs.
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.
Women as young as 11 years of age, as well as men, can be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. There is no such thing as 'too young' or 'too male'.
Each woman and her prognosis is different. There are more than 18 different sub-types of breast cancer known to doctors, and each of those forms can have variations in things like hormone receptors and genetic factors.
Only 5% of women with breast cancer test positive for the BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation.
Treatment for metastatic breast cancer is lifelong and focuses on control of the disease and quality of life.
For more information, please read 13 Facts Everyone Should Know About Metastatic Breast Cancer and also the 2013 MBC Fact a Day - 31 Days in October.
Help us out in our fight for research and better treatments. Donate to METAvivor.