Pink is pretty, but it does not disguise the fact that metastatic breast cancer kills. METAvivor's campaigns increase public awareness about the facts of MBC and the discrepancies in breast cancer funding for research that could save the lives of the 30% of breast cancer patients who routinely develop stage 4 breast cancer.
In 2015 we travelled across the country to raise awareness about metastatic breast cancer. We started in Anapolis, Maryland on April 12th and finished in Santa Monica, California on May 26th. We visited 26 cities, including all of research institutions funded to date.
Women (and men) do not die from breast cancer. They die when their breast cancer metastasizes and spreads to other parts of the body. There has been a huge push for breast cancer awareness in the past two decades, with a tremendous focus on prevention and early detection. We wish these efforts had been successful. But the simple truth is that after two decades and billions of dollars, breast cancer has not been prevented and early detection has proven no guarantee against metastasis and death. And while these billions have been focused elsewhere, almost 1,000,000 American women and men have died while waiting for research funds to finally be shifted to metastasis research. This tragic truth is lost in the sea of pink promotions. We cannot and will not allow this to go on.
METAvivor on the Move expanded the METAvivor effort through the establishment of regional teams throughout the US and to an extent Canada. With five teams established and five more in the works, we now have a nationwide base that will greatly expand our awareness and research fundraising efforts. By the end of 2013, regional Project Light Up teams had lit Los Angeles Airport, Niagara Falls and the Milwaukee Domes in MBC colors. This followed the 2012 lighting of Houston City Hall with the same colors. Regional teams are now heavily involved in our 2014-2015 Campaign: Sea to Sea for MBC.
Too often we have heard breast cancer organizations and even breast cancer surgeons and oncologists imply metastasis is rare or the fault of the patient. Breast cancer survivors are often in complete denial that MBC could ever happen to them. The “pink world” goes to great lengths to suppress the reality of our disease -- that it happens to one-third of the breast cancer community, largely for unknown reasons. The Elephant in the Pink Room campaign pushed recognition of our disease because with recognition, the support so necessary for the MBC patient and the research that could halt death for so many, will continue to elude us.
Thirty percent of women and men who are diagnosed with breast cancer will eventually develop stage 4 (metastatic) breast cancer and die. Yet of all the money dedicated to breast cancer research, only 2% is earmarked specifically for metastatic research. METAvivor's goal is to have cancer organizations devote thirty percent of their research budget to research that will help the 30 percent of women and men whose cancer metastasizes. The surest way to save the lives of patients already diagnosed with breast cancer is to find a way to make MBC survivable.