WHY I “CELEBRATE” METASTATIC BREAST CANCER ACTION DAY.
October 13 is officially called Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. But all the awareness in the world won’t stop people from dying of breast cancer — ACTION will.
I’ve been living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) for more than 20 years. I celebrate MBC Action Day on October 13 because it’s another day I am alive. Another chance to tell my story. Another platform I can use to advocate that all MBC patients, despite socioeconomic status, can benefit from the research, clinical trials and cutting-edge treatments that have prolonged my life. Another day to encourage action.
I’ve lived well beyond the prognosis given to me in 1998, when I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (stage 4 breast cancer). Back then, I was told most people with MBC had a 90% chance of dying within 3 years. I had already completed stage 2 breast cancer treatment, and like many others who cautiously enjoyed what I hoped was a cancer-free future, was shocked to learn my breast cancer was now in my bones.
RESEARCH FUELS HOPE, AND WE NEED MORE OF BOTH.
In 1998, there were only seven lines of therapy available to people living with MBC. Today, more than 100 therapies are in clinical trials. That’s good news. It’s also worth noting that 155,000 women and men are currently living with metastatic breast cancer in the U.S. On the other hand, the number of people dying from MBC each year has remained constant—even though more are diagnosed and successfully treated for early stage breast cancer.
We all must support research efforts to find therapies that will extend both quantity of life and quality of life. We are not there yet. Take action. Tell your friends, bug your employer, get loud on social media. With an army of continued support and advocacy for research, we may one day look at breast cancer as a thing of the past.
That day can’t come soon enough.
Actions YOU Can Take Now:
Under current regulations, metastatic breast cancer patients are subject to a 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance and a 24-month waiting period for Medicare benefits to kick in. This is time that they do not have and at a cost they cannot afford. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act will provide patients access to the care they need by waiving these waiting periods. You can support this bill by visiting https://p2a.co/2ZgCbC3 and taking action – right now.
Sandra Spivey is a retired human resource professional living in Laguna Niguel, CA. She serves as a Komen National Scholar, and is a member of the Komen Advocates in Science Steering Committee. In addition to this, she volunteers as a consumer reviewer for three breast cancer research funding organizations and mentors those with metastatic breast cancer. Living with stage IV cancer since 1998, she shares her insights as she learns how to navigate the uneasy life of a person living with metastatic cancer.