NPR's Ina Jaffe Shares Breast Cancer Diagnosis - NPR
Jun 22, 2021 1 min, 25 secs

I have metastatic breast cancer, MBC, stage 4.

That means the breast cancer has spread to my lungs, bones and brain.

Because, faced with an incurable cancer diagnosis, I did what any normal person would do: I stopped sleeping.

By the way, I have no issue with people who want to keep their cancer diagnosis a secret to the end.

If you have the misfortune to have cancer, you get to have it any way you want.

I thought metastatic breast cancer was fairly rare.

Up to 30% of women with early stage breast cancer progress to stage 4.

I thought that you were more likely to get metastatic breast cancer if you'd been diagnosed with a more-advanced stage of breast cancer to begin with.

It's not dependent on your stage at original diagnosis.

Those are among many factors that can influence whether you get breast cancer initially.

Due to the types of cancers that they get, African American women have the highest breast cancer mortality rate of any U.S.

This diagnosis doesn't mean I won't be.

As I began to research metastatic breast cancer, I came across the stunning statistic that only 7% of funding for breast cancer research is devoted to metastatic disease.

This figure is from a multiyear study (2000 to 2013) from the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance.

Shirley Mertz, the former president, says the alliance plans to repeat the study beginning this year.

So, at this point, you might be wondering how many people have metastatic breast cancer.

A 2020 National Cancer Institute study estimates that 168,000 women in the U.S.

are living with metastatic breast cancer.

Or to stop wondering why only 7% of breast cancer research funding is dedicated to finding a cure for metastatic breast cancer


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