I am so tired of celebrities putting a happy face on breast cancer.

March 18, 2012

A Letter to the Editor of US magazine:

It is wonderful that Guliana Rancic has a positive, uplifting story to tell.   But unfortunately for us, it isn’t all pretty pink ribbons and cures. The celebrities that fight breast cancer and win are the public face of this disease. We need a platform to educate people about the progress that has not been made in finding a cure.

A lump in the breast does not kill anyone. When breast cancer cells travel or metastasize to another part of the body—usually bone, liver, lungs or brain—it is incurable. Those of us with metastatic breast cancer aren’t and will never be the survivors. The cure has eluded us.

Much has been done in the areas of prevention and early detection and that is wonderful. It provides women with more choices in their treatment. Although people think we have come a long way, 40,000 people will die of this disease this year.–just as many as in the year 1995. Yet, less than 5% of research funds go towards metastatic breast cancer.

Many breast cancer organizations don’t recognize those of us who are living with stage IV breast cancer – they serve the ‘survivors’. We are scary to them and we are pushed into the shadows.

We need government and private research funds to find treatments to extend our lives. We need for everyone, including the breast cancer community, to be aware of us.

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, mbcn.org, is made up of all metastatic women. We are all volunteers and are unpaid, and we are passionate about helping each other and advocating for our disease. We are desperate for our story to be told.

Deb Tincher

Hamilton, Ohio

MBCN Board member