October marks breast cancer awareness month. October 13th marks metastatic breast cancer awareness day. The colors for this disease are green, teal and pink.
October 13th may have passed, but the need to raise awareness and funds for this disease remains dire.
My mother has stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She has the second most common type of breast cancer, invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC).
10% of all breast cancer diagnoses are ILC
After 9 years of remission, my mother found out her breast cancer spread to her stomach. That was over a year ago.
About .3% of breast cancer metastases to the stomach
Yes, my mother’s ILC stomach mets are a rarity, but metastatic breast cancer is not.
1 in 8 U.S. women develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. That’s about 12% of the female population, at 36 million women. Of these 36 million, 30-40% of them will eventually be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
Only 25% of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer survive for 5 years or more.
There are roughly 40,000 deaths per year attributed to breast cancer. Nearly all of these deaths are caused by metastatic breast cancer. That means, 109 women die each day from metastatic breast cancer. 1,200 of these deaths will be women under the age of 40.
And yet, with numbers as they are, only 7% of breast cancer funding goes towards the late-stage disease. With only 2-5% going towards treatment research.
Only 7% of breast cancer funds are allocated to metastatic breast cancer.
We’ve done massive due diligence to curtail the breast cancer death rate (down 40% in the U.S. between 1989 and 2015), but we have lost focus and showed little determination in helping those who are now at the highest risk of mortality from the disease.
This year alone, an estimated 250,000 women will be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and will learn a startling statistic: the median survival rate is 3 years post diagnosis.
Metastatic breast cancer is a never-ending battle. The disease, at this moment and for the foreseeable future, is considered incurable. With that, women find themselves with a heavy-heart, searching for strength where there is no support; overburdened with a hopelessness from the idleness in waiting for a better treatment.
Pretty in Pink has worked. It’s time to spread some love to the green and teal ladies.
To donate much needed funds for this disease, please visit:
To sign petitions urging the government to learn more about this disease, please visit:
For more reading on metastatic breast cancer, please visit:
For breast cancer statistics, please visit: