For patients and families, finding a supportive community can be extremely helpful. These communities spur research, offer a sense of understanding, and build awareness. This is exactly what Susan G. Komen is working to do with its new MBC Impact Series. According to YourCentralValley.com, 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, with 30% having metastatic breast cancer (MBC). The MBC Impact Series will offer a series of sessions around research, policy, community, and more to help patients and their families. Interested in registering? Click here.
MBC Impact Series
According to the website, the MBC Impact Series:
will provide people living with metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones a safe, collaborative space to gather information related to MBC and discover practical resources to help make decisions for improved physical and emotional health. During each month’s event, you can participate in live sessions with leading experts, hear from individuals living with MBC and gather information from wellness experts.
If you enroll in one session, you will also be automatically enrolled in the remaining sessions. Also, you don’t have to watch the sessions live! They are available to watch at any time. Thus far, the sessions have included “Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) 101” in April and “Improving Quality of Life” in May. The sessions, which will run until December 2021, are listed below:
- June 16, 1-3pm CT/12-2pm ET: MBC in the Black Community.
- July 14, time tbd: MBC Public Policy & Advocacy.
- August 5, 12-2pm CT/11am-1pm ET: Legal and Financial Issues.
- September, date tbd: MBC in the Hispanic/Latino Community.
- October 13, time tbd: MBC Awareness Day: Hope
- November, date tbd: MBC Caregiver Support
- December, date tbd: MBC Wellness Fair
Sponsors of the MBC Impact Series include Eisai, Pfizer, Walgreens, Seagen, Merck, Lilly Oncology, Daiichi-Sankyo, Amgen Oncology, and American Bone Health.
Ultimately, through this series, Susan G. Komen hopes to offer patients support, research, information on clinical trials, and a stronger sense of community.
Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC)
Also known as stage IV breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer begins in the breasts but later metastasizes (spreads) to other areas of the body. The cancer can spread through the blood, circulatory systems, or lymph systems. Additionally, it can invade and overcome healthy cells. Typically, metastatic breast cancer spreads to the lungs, brain, bones, or liver. An estimated 168,000 American women have metastatic breast cancer. Unfortunately, the prognosis is not incredibly positive. Only around 33% of women survive 5 years following diagnosis.
Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer vary, particularly in regards to which part of the body is now affected. For example, if the cancer spreads to bones, symptoms may include:
- Easier or more frequent bone fractures
- Neck or back pain
- Numbness and weakness
- Difficulty passing urine or having bowel movements
- Appetite loss
- Sudden and intense pain
Alternately, if the cancer spreads to the lungs, symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing up blood and/or mucus
If the cancer metastasized to the liver, symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- General malaise
- Itchy skin
- Muscle weakness
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Unintended weight loss
- Swelling of the legs
- Appetite loss
Finally, for those whose cancer metastasized to the brain, symptoms include:
- Severe headaches
- Memory problems
- Balance problems
- Slurred speech
- Blurry vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in mood or personality