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posted: 10/13/2012 4:29 AM

A truly cruel form of breast cancer

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A truly cruel form of breast cancer

Most people think breast cancer awareness month starts and ends in October. But for the thousands of people like my mother who are living with metastatic breast cancer, every month is breast cancer awareness month.

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If there's one thing I wish people knew about my family's experience with metastatic breast cancer, it's how frightening it is to realize that my mom's life will most likely be cut short because of this disease; no amount of treatment can make it go away -- there is no cure. As hard as the original diagnosis in 2009 was, it does not compare to how devastating the stage IV diagnosis was for my family this past July -- our lives are forever changed.

In October 2009, the U.S. Senate and House voted to support the designation of Oct. 13 as a National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The point of those proclamations was to draw attention to the needs of the metastatic breast cancer community.

Oct. 13 isn't about general breast cancer awareness, it's about acknowledging the distinct needs of people who have the advanced, incurable form of breast cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer claims 40,000 lives annually in the U.S. My mother is 1 of 155,000 U.S. people living with metastatic breast cancer, and we as a family have a vested interest in educating people about this incurable disease -- urging them to support research that helps people with advanced breast cancer live longer.

Lauren Zafir

Wheaton

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