Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cancer Research Month Ends

I have been at the hospital today getting my every-three-week infusion. Platelets were at 96,000! Highest they have been in awhile. June brings my scan. The nail biting has begun.

After sitting down for infusion #50 and #33 of TDM-1, I found this tweet on this final day of National Cancer Research Month. #ItsAboutTimeMBC #metastaticbc

2h2 hours ago
Lisa: Only honest convos about the nature of cancer will move $ to research:

Yes, that is me.

I soon wondered how long the month of May has been the month where advocates for more research for all cancers get a better chance of being heard. A few moments later I found what I was looking for. The Alaska Senator, Lisa Murkowski, spoke the words below back in 2008 acknowledging the first year this month was recognized as Cancer Research Month in the United States.
"We're all touched by cancer as evidenced by the more than 10 million cancer survivors living in the US. Cancer research plays an important role in saving lives and advancing progress against the more than 200 diseases that we call cancer. In 2008 Congress became united in a bipartisan show of support to recognize the month of May as National Cancer Month." Find this speech--Here
My words included in the It's About Time MBC tweet are few, but the message behind them is complex. Metastatic breast cancer is deemed incurable. The longer the cancer is uncontrolled, the more complex it becomes in its survival. There are not enough drugs to target each mutation. It is crucial that research is directed toward treatments for people like me, those now and in the future. Prevention, early detection, healthy living, and awareness are good but will do nothing to make metastatic breast cancer a disease that does not equal death within the estimated 3 year--maybe 5 year--life expectancy after a stage IV diagnosis. Only cellular research can do that--so extremely expensive and so very time intensive. Awareness about metastatic disease hopefully will spur more research dollars in this area.

Read this article for a better understanding of why cancer is so hard to cure and why the hype of doing so leads to disappointment.  

May is filled with many awareness campaigns. The list below comes from the American Cancer Society's Website.
An * means the campaign is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
May appears to be the busiest month for awareness campaigns.

May 2016

Bladder Cancer Awareness Month
Brain Tumor Awareness Month
Cancer Research Month
Don’t Fry Day (May 27)*
Melanoma Monday (May 2)
National Women’s Check-up Day (May 9)
National Women's Health Week (May 8−14)
National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month
World No Tobacco Day (May 31)
World Health Assembly (May 16−21; Geneva)

I hope all of these campaigns are causing dollars to be allocated to the best research possible. Too often it seems much research is spent on prevention and lifestyle choices. While good and necessary, sometimes I feel like that type of research keeps going down the same path and ending up with the same results: correlation does not always equal causation--especially in the breast cancer world of which I am familiar.

May has been a busy month for me with my twins graduating from college and sending one off to spend the summer in Japan. Exhausting but exciting too.


  1. Good news about the platelets! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for your scan.
    College graduation - wonderful! Hope you can work in a visit to Japan -

    Cathy S.

  2. Thanks, Cathy! My passport is ready just in case, but I don't think we can swing it, $ wise, right now. She is having a great time--so brave to be traveling in a foreign county by herself. I worry terribly. Thankfully, technology is wonderful! I can talk to her almost anywhere she goes.

    1. of course I meant "country", my proofreading skills-ugh.