Shirley Mertz, president of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network and chair of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, has been living with metastatic disease for 15 years. She talks about the increasing body of research on metastatic breast cancer at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Running time: 2:47
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Shirley Mertz: Hi Jamie! It’s so great to talk with you. My name is Shirley Mertz. I’m the president of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, and recently I had the good fortune of being elected chair of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. I’ve been a person living with metastatic disease for a very long time — 15 years — and I just have to say, it is so exciting every year to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
When I attended a few years ago, sadly for me, I would look for information about metastatic disease, and it always only came the very last day of the conference, like Saturday, but there was a summary. And now in the last year or two, I have seen a big transformation of information about metastatic breast cancer every day of the conference, which to any of your listeners who might be living with metastatic disease, I would hope they would feel hopeful and uplifted by this because it’s really a great thing. In terms of the conference, if you were here you would see really hundreds of researchers, scientists, and clinicians who are all trying to understand breast cancer, the full range. But in particular, what is significant, I think, are the patient advocates of all stages, but in particular metastatic patients, who come here to get information and to network.
I guess the other significant thing I would hope your listeners look into is the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. They can put that into their computer and Google it, and it is an organization that was created in 2013, and it’s made up of 32 patient breast cancer organizations, 11 pharmaceutical industry partners, and 18 individual advocates, some of whom are patients.
The good news is that we’re working very hard to improve information and services for patients, to progress research, and to develop awareness about the disease. So my message to take home would be to look at the site. It has great information, and hopefully one day you might be willing to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.