Metastatic Breast Cancer Day happens annually on October 13. It is a day meant to bring understanding to the most serious form of the disease. Many people don’t realize that breast cancer itself does not become deadly until it metastasizes — or spreads outside of the breasts. Metastatic breast cancer (also called stage IV or advanced breast cancer) is not a specific type of breast cancer, but rather the most advanced stage.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day - History
There are 2 million new cases
In 2018, 2 million women found out they had breast cancer. It's now the most common cancer in women and the second most common cancer overall.
A study showed the disease is growing
A new study from the National Cancer Institute showed metastatic breast cancer cases are on the rise. The study found that more than 150,000 women in the U.S. currently had MBC.
New legislation focused on breast cancer specifically
The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 pushed the National Cancer Institute to do more to address breast cancer and other women's cancers. A controlled study in the Northeast looked at risks factors that can contribute to breast cancer cases.
The government started the battle against cancer
A West Virginia senator introduced a bill to reward the person who found a cure for cancer. The bill also created a commission to research possible cures.
How to Observe Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day
1. Learn something new
Start with yourself. Commit to learning something new — whether it's by doing online research, volunteering with a local organization, or attending a Metastatic Breast Cancer Day event.
2. Contribute to the cure
No single person will find the cure. It will be a team effort by the millions of people who gave a little bit of what they have to a good cause.
3. Spread the love
If you know of anyone who's battling breast cancer, reach out to them. Let them know you are trying to understand what they're going through and that you're there to support them.
3 Self-exam Tips
1. Check physical changes
It's your body — don't be shy! Place your right hand above your head and use small circular motions to check for lumps.
2. Check visual changes
Look in the mirror for lumps or discoloration.
3. Make it a routine
Health officials recommend completing a self-exam once a month. This keeps you in the habit of checking and familiarizes you with how to do it.
Why Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is Important
A. It's a misunderstood topic
Metastatic breast cancer is the only deadly form of the disease. Yet, a majority of studies, funding, and attention is dedicated to detecting and treating isolated cases.
B. It drives new research
As more people understand metastatic breast cancer, more people will be donating, researching and fighting for a cure. Right now, metastasized breast cancer is not a chronic disease, but researchers believe it one day could be. With awareness comes a push to find treatments to make this a manageable disease.
C. It builds support groups
Most people know someone who has battled breast cancer. The more you understand the disease, the better you can support a family member, friend or acquaintance who has it.