Community Views: Speaking Out about Metastatic Breast Cancer
Life with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is filled with countless challenges. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding about MBC from other people is often one of those challenges. What many do not fully grasp is that this diagnosis is very different from primary breast cancer.
To hear more about what community members wish others knew about metastatic breast cancer, we reached out to followers of our Facebook page. We asked you to tell us: “If you could tell the world one thing about MBC, what would it be?”
Nearly 40 people in the community answered. Here is what was shared.
Looks do not tell the whole story
So often, others will assume that someone with advanced breast cancer is doing fine because they outwardly appear fine. However, appearances can be deceiving. Some may still have all their hair and not appear sick, but that does not mean they are not suffering. It is best to check in and offer support and kindness to anyone living with this diagnosis.
“You might think I look fine, but what you do not know is that every day I am fighting for more days.”
“You are not healed and in the clear just because your hair is back and you are done with chemo.”
There is no cure
It is common for people to hear "breast cancer" and not understand that advanced breast cancer is something else entirely. There is no cure for this diagnosis.
"We are never in remission or cured!"
"There is no cure!"
Treatment never ends
It goes hand-in-hand that just as there is no cure, there is no end to treatments for metastatic breast cancer. Ongoing treatments may include surgery, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or radiation. As much as this diagnosis is a physical fight, it is also a deeply emotional one.
"That you are forever in treatment! It is, for now, an incurable cancer."
"You are in treatment forever."
Life still has joy
Many people living with advanced breast cancer choose to make the most of each day, actively seeking joy. Circumstances may be tough and days may bring pain, but it is still possible to find happiness in a call from your daughter, bread fresh from the oven, snuggle time with a pet, the beauty of the sky at dawn, or coffee with a best friend. Small moments of joy make life worth living, and they help us soldier on through trying times.
"Enjoy every day, if you can. I struggle all the time, but I know what is the most important to me. Making time for what I want is so important."
"That I live each day to the fullest."
The diagnosis does not define the person
No matter what, you are more than your diagnosis. Several people in the community shared that they rediscovered their power when they recognized they are more than their advanced breast cancer. There is still life to be lived however one chooses, and each person decides what the road ahead looks like.
“It does not define the person that has the disease. The person defines how the disease affects them.”
Thank you to everyone who spoke up about their experiences with this diagnosis. We appreciate hearing from so many.
Do you have an MBC mentor/mentee?