About 154,000 men and women in the United States are living with metastatic breast cancer. Of those people, 94 percent were at one point diagnosed with and treated for a lower-stage cancer that was considered treatable. But their cancer progressed, and was then considered incurable.
Breast cancer that remains in the breast cannot kill a person. But breast cancer that metastasizes to other organs is a dangerous and fatal disease. Someone dies from metastatic breast cancer every 60 seconds. Yet this serious illness remains underfunded and incurable.
In the video below, four women open up to share their experiences with metastatic breast cancer. They talk about the multitude of symptoms they’ve dealt with, from weight gain to acne, from cramps to diarrhea. They talk about how their daily schedules have been filled up with fusions and other treatments so that they barely have the time and energy to enjoy what’s left of their lives with their families. They talk about the horrible lack of hope they’ve been left with now that their conditions are no longer considered curable. And they talk about the only way to make anything better—more research for a cure.
“Anybody with metastatic cancer will tell you that the first few months up to the first year is very difficult,” says one woman, “because you just don’t have the hope.”
“We’re looking at 12 to 24 months,” says another woman, a young mother. She likely will not live to see her daughters grow up and get married. Her description of what being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is like is simply gut-wrenching to hear:
“It’s like you’re walking and you’re doing fine, and all of a sudden you’re on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon. And some days I want to jump.”
“We need people out there shouting it from the rooftops,” says another metastatic breast cancer patient. “We need more studies. We need more dollars for research.”
Check out the video below to learn more about this heartbreaking disease and what needs to be done to help.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?