Top Resources for Metastatic Breast Cancer Supportby Bethany Kandel Health Writer
Nobody wants to hear the words, “You’ve got breast cancer.” But thanks to modern treatment, most breast cancer is curable. Yet, for the 20 to 30 percent of patients whose cancer spreads within the body, their struggle with what is called metastatic breast cancer (MBC), also known as advanced or stage 4 breast cancer, will continue for the rest of their lives. Here are some resources to help you deal with this situation.
What Does Having MBC Mean?
Patients with MBC face unique emotional, practical and medical issues. Find out what treatment options are available and how to manage your emotions with a Guide for the Newly Diagnosed from Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. The guide will give you a look at how metastatic breast cancer may affect your daily life.
Decide on a MBC Treatment Plan
Although it is not curable, MBC can be managed with new therapies and drug combinations that can help patients live well for years. No doubt you have lots of questions about which treatment plan is the best match for you. Before making any decisions, listen to the Cancer Support Community’s Spotlight on Metastatic Breast Cancer online series. And explore the organization’s resources for you, your family, and caregivers.
Connect With Others Affected by MBC
Young women with MBC face particularly intense challenges but they do not have to do it alone. Young Survival Coalition can help arm you with information to take control of your life. Connect with others living with metastatic cancer through their Connect with young survivors in your community, chat on discussion boards, participate in video support groups, or join the SurvivorLink peer mentoring program.
Find Inspiration From Others’ MBC Experiences
Take a Break From MBC
Sometimes you just need a timeout from cancer. Thankfully there are many retreats offering some relief, relaxation, and fun. Casting for Recovery, for example, offers fly-fishing retreats specifically for women with metastatic breast cancer. And Breast Cancer Options offers a free annual retreat each fall at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.
Create Lasting Memories With Your Family
Talk to Loved Ones About Your MBC
Talking to your loved ones—especially young children—about your MBC can be difficult. Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Cancer Support Community, and MyMBCStory offer helpful tips. There’s also a children’s book, “The Cancer That Wouldn’t Go Away: A story for kids about metastatic cancer,” that can be a starting point to discuss this with children ages 4-8.
Nurture Your Beauty When MBC Saps Your Spirits
When you have MBC, you may not look sick, but you don’t always feel your best. There are people out there who want to help boost your spirits. Chemocessories is a non-profit that will send any woman in cancer treatment a free personalized package of accessories, including jewelry, scarves, and turbans. And Look Good Feel Better offers beauty workshops to manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment.
Get Involved With MBC Research Advocacy
Want to get involved to make sure metastatic breast cancer research gets more funding to help yourself and others? There are many groups speaking out about the dearth of stage 4 cancer research and trying to change things for the future through fundraising and advocacy. Contact Metavivor for more information on how to help improve the longevity and quality of life for MBC patients.