Today I watched a video that I made in 2014. It was a celebration of 9 of our lives and how far we’d all come since our cancer. But now Im sitting here editing it, because out of the 9 of us who all had cancer in 2012 and 2013, 3 are dead, and 1 is technically dying-that person being me.
There are currently no accurate stats that tell us how many of us will go on to have cancers that become metastatic, although the ballpark figure thrown around is approximately 30 percent. Of course you could collect the data on another 9 women and none of them will go on to becomr stage 4, but in my group, 44 percent of us had/have secondaries and
we aren’t even all at remission stage yet.
I’m sure you will agree with me that these stats are shocking. After all, people think that breast cancer is a better cancer to have and the other phrase that’s repeatedly misused: Catch it early and you can be cured. Both of these statements are incorrect, misleading and unfair to every woman out there with or without cancer. It’s lulling us all in to a false sense of security.
Breast cancer is not better than any other cancer, but the chances of being cured are pretty good, and treatment has come a long way, (apart from triple negative cancer- this affects many young women and sadly there’s been little advance on this type of cancer). However, we should not forget that thousands of women die of the disease annually, and nobody knows why the cancer spreads in some nor do they know how to stop it in its tracks-at least not forever. All of us who had mets caught our cancers pretty early. We all had primary cancers. it’s still important to check yourself regularly and catch cancer early, but it definitely does not mean it won’t come back again or worse, spread to other parts of the body. I’m not saying we should be putting negative messages out there, but we shouldn’t be putting false information out there either.
I do wonder if sometimes we ladies with mets are brushed under the carpet and people only really want to shout out about the survivors? The problem is there’s lots of us with mets, but in the grand scheme of things not enough of us to make a big enough noise. Because I am stage 4, it means I know lots of others with it too, and I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not going to say it’s all pink and fluffy because it’s not. Hopefully in my group, it stays at 4 out of 9 and nobody else loses their life to this crap, but I’m sure you will agree, 4 out of 9 deaths is far too many.
I hope this post gave you some food for thought and made you think that it’s not just about celebrating the survivors it’s about celebrating the “*metavivors” and remembering the dying too. We all matter. X
*metavivor someone with metastatic cancer who can’t be cured but if fighting to survive.