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Many of you have been supporting METAvivor for years and many are new to our blog and social media. We have shared a lot of love and support and it has been reciprocated from all of you, whether you are someone living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), a friend or family member. We thank you for all of your support and effort toward our common goal of ending death from MBC.
It can be very difficult to navigate a cancer diagnosis and even more difficult when it is a stage IV diagnosis. Imagine for a moment, that you were not given the same treatment options as someone else with the same or similar diagnosis (mutations considered). Could it mean that your physician didn't know about all of the treatment options for your specific diagnosis? Could where you live play a role in the treatment options you are given? Could it mean there were thoughts that you could not afford certain treatment options or that your insurance might not pay? Could it be that your skin color was considered before delivering certain options? All of these scenarios have and do occur. Yes, it seems unimaginable, but it happens. METAvivor has been working for many years to level the field and encourage those living with MBC to be their own best advocate through our efforts with Sea to Sea for MBC and Peer led training. It is always important to advocate for your health and educate yourself on your healthcare and treatment options.
What else does METAvivor do? Because we have a single and specific focus on stage IV metastatic breast cancer, it allows us to train advocates to tell their MBC story to National and State legislators and to help them understand why additional research funding is needed for metastatic breast cancer research, why patient protections are important for those living with a terminal disease and why certain actions at a National or State level may impact health of those living with MBC.
We have also been proactive in meeting the goals of our inclusion pledge, sending the strong message that we are an organization for ALL people living with MBC. Most importantly, this year, we announced a research grant specifically focused on health disparities in MBC. Specifically, we announced a grant that would fund unique, novel research that can determine why Black people with MBC have a worse outcome versus others. Some of the research ideas include determining relationships between comorbidities and treatment outcomes in Black people living with metastatic breast cancer, the development and characterization of novel models of metastatic breast cancer using cells derived from Black people with metastatic breast cancer, why is there a high prevalence of TNBC metastatic breast cancer in Black people and why certain treatments have worse effects on and higher toxicity in Black people. These are just a few of the many great ideas for research. Research that informs us about anomalies can lead to unlocking other clues about treating and transitioning the disease.
In September, we will be discussing Health Disparities during a virtual conference that will include advocates, researchers and clinicians. We hope you will join us in this and our other efforts to discover more ways to improve the lives of those living with MBC.