Summary of our weekly group discussion ~ 18 October 2016
SECONDARY/METASTATIC BREAST CANCER
Our Sunday discussion this week focused on secondary breast cancer (SBC). In our private group we have members with both primary and secondary diagnoses and it became clear during the discussion that those with secondaries may be reluctant to share for fear of upsetting those with primaries. Getting this out on the table led to a frank and honest sharing of experience and feelings and many primary ladies were reassured by the positivity and resilience demonstrated by our ladies with SBC.
We are shocked at how ignorant most people are about SBC and what it means to get a diagnosis. Also called metastatic breast cancer (mets) it means that the breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body. It can be controlled through treatment but not cured. We would like to see more information provided to primary breast cancer patients, and to the general public, and more prominence given to SBC during the pink awareness campaigns.
Primary BC ladies live with a constant fear of secondary BC. Secondary BC ladies say they experience a different kind of fear, it's focused on keeping the disease at bay, on scans and treatments, and on living life to the full, each and every day. Resilience appears to increase for many ladies with SBC, there's a determination, a fighting spirit, a zest for precious life. The fear of uncertainty becomes channelled into living in the present rather than worrying about tomorrow.
We hope that this discussion has brought us closer together as a community of women living with breast cancer and we thank our SBC ladies for their willingness to share so frankly.