More attention for metastatic patients?


Question from VanD: Often women with Stage IV breast cancer feel like outsiders. Attention and focus is given to women whose breast cancer is "curable." Are there any initiatives underway across the U.S. to bring more attention to women who are living with breast cancer day in and day out?
Answers - Larry Norton, M.D. The comment is absolutely right. A lot of the communication and resources are focused on patients with primary breast cancer rather than recurrent breast cancer. However, there are efforts to correct that. One was started here in New York by Roz Kleban who is the social worker in our center, the Evelyn Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. It also involves many volunteers here in New York. They established the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. It had two meetings so far — one at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and this year at New York University. It had lectures of relevance to the audience, who were 100% metastatic breast cancer patients, as well as networking, resources, and information. One of the major changes in metastatic breast cancer over the years is conversion from an acute fatal disease to a chronic one that people can live with. I have people with metastatic breast cancer that I've cared for for 25 years. I expect that we're going to see more and more people with long survival with this disease, which is always a prelude towards disease cure. I've seen cures over the years I've been involved in cancer medicine. It's always a chronic disease before it becomes a curable one, and I suspect we're in that transition now.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. As women who have received many different therapies in sequence or combination, you become great personal experts in how and what it's like to be treated for breast cancer and help others making their way through it. In the discussion boards at breastcancer.org, so many of you share this personal knowledge. New therapies for breast cancer are usually first introduced in clinical trials for women with metastatic disease, so you truly are pioneers for new treatments and approaches in the future.

On Wednesday, October 17, 2007 our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer. Larry Norton, M.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about managing day-to-day life with metastatic breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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