October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, bringing with it the usual proliferation of pink intended to increase awareness and raise funds for research and supportive services.
Breast cancer campaigns often emphasize early detection, which has allowed many women—and some men—to be treated successfully and become long-term survivors. When caught early, before cancer has spread beyond the breast, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent.
But many pink promotions fail to acknowledge people with metastatic, or advanced, breast cancer, for whom the five-year survival rate is closer to 25 percent. As Latonya Wilson describes in her profile, living with metastatic breast cancer means a lifetime of treatment and reliance on a steady stream of new drugs coming through the development pipeline.
One group that needs no awareness reminders is so-called previvors—people who don’t yet have cancer but carry genetic mutations that dramatically increase their risk. Learn more about BRCA gene mutations that raise the risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer and the benefits of working with a genetic counselor.
Breast cancer gets a lot of attention because it’s a women’s issue. But cancers that aren’t associated with a specific identity group need awareness and resources too. Jamie Troil Goldfarb shares her experience living with metastatic melanoma and the personal and public benefits of participating in clinical trials.
Part of Cancer Health’s mission is to offer you the latest information about new treatments on the horizon. Visit #ASCO2018 for news from the big American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in June and see what some of the leading experts in the field think will be the next breakthroughs in immunotherapy.
This year, when you “Think Pink,” don’t forget to consider the women and men with metastatic breast cancer—and people living with all types of cancer—who need better treatments and, ultimately, cures.