There is something missing … the “Inconvenient Truth” of breast cancer
As someone who has lived with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) for over 6 years I have long noticed that there is something missing; and we are not talking about my left boob here.
When I was diagnosed with MBC I took a brief look at the statistics. Didn’t dwell there long because I decided I was not going to be in the 85% who don’t make it to 5 years ‘survival’. In fact I decided that I didn’t want much to do with stats at all because they are out of date and use data which is years old to start with. But as much as I may like the idea of ignoring the stats they keep popping up at me. Survival stats are promoted to show how breast cancer can be successfully treated, the only trouble is that they ignore the stats for MBC or Inflammatory Breast Cancer because these are a whole different ball game. In fact I have just had a Google for MBC statistics and they are hard to find. It would seem that MBC has gone AWOL.
The public face of breast cancer is the Pink Ribbon. The Holy Cow of cancer awareness, indeed it is the Cash Cow of cancer awareness. The Pink Ribbon is there to remind everyone to check their breasts and, implied in this message, if you do that and get your mammogram you won’t get breast cancer; or it will be found early and can be cured by treatment. There is the added implication that the Pink Ribbon is also in memory of those who have died of the disease … so please donate to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. Yes, there we sit firmly in the background, the ever-present reason that money should be given to find the mythical ‘Cure’, there in everyone’s mind, but never a part of the conversation. We are the elephant in the corner of the room … but where is our part in the conversation?
The fact is that WE ARE THE CONVERSATION! Breast cancer isn’t an easy ride/good way to get a free boob job, it is a disease which causes more than 450 000 deaths each year with breast cancer accounts for about 14% of all female cancer deaths. The Global deaths from breast cancer is not much short of the Population of Wyoming in 2000.
Recently the US department store Kohls has teamed up with Susan G Komen to raise money for Komen and ‘start the conversation about breast cancer’. Great idea. SCREECHES TO A HALT … wait a minute. Haven’t I seen an elephant just like that in a METAvivor campaign … where is the mention of MBC?
As usual those of us living with MBC are not even on the agenda, let alone a part of the conversation.