By Valerie Frank Ever since I can remember, I’ve made people laugh. I was always the funny friend, and when I was in my mid-20s I made it official by becoming a Main Stage cast member of ImprovBoston — an improvisational comedy theater in Cambridge, MA. Once I retired from improv to become a suburban … Read more
Just over a year after giving birth to her son, Emmett, Abigail Myers faced a devastating diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2014. It started when Myers woke up one morning feeling sore. When she found a lump, she rushed to her doctor, all the while in disbelief that she might have cancer. A resident … Read more
At first, Joy Mills and Arthur “Buck” Benedict look like any other happy, older couple traveling by ferry from their home on Peaks Island, Maine, to Portland. Admiring the beautiful views, they sit outside when weather permits. They laugh, chat with friends, and occasionally needle each other during the 18-minute trip. Once a month, the … Read more
Lianne Kraemer describes two breast cancer diagnoses before age 40 — including metastatic breast cancer (MBC) that had spread to her brain — as “slamming into one brick wall, getting back on life’s highway, and then slamming into another.” Now, as she continues navigating her way with the disease, Kraemer is helping those traveling a … Read more
Anne Keane is a big fan of counting, from laps swam to miles ran to birthdays celebrated by her daughter Ruby. The most recent was Ruby’s seventh, and Keane plans on marking many more as she continues enjoying an active lifestyle with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). “We’re just so lucky to get to wake up … Read more
When breast cancer spreads, or metastasizes, it’s more likely to travel to some parts of the body than others. The most common sites of metastasis include the bones, brain, liver, or lungs. It’s rare for patients with early-stage breast cancer, which has not spread beyond the breast or adjacent lymph nodes, to develop a brain metastasis: The … Read more
As a multi-sport athlete growing up, Allison Rebello loved being part of a team. Today, living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), she credits three teams for helping her stay active and optimistic in the face of an incurable but treatable disease. Rebello’s care team at Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and … Read more
My journey with cancer began in February 2015 at the age of 24. My primary care doctor felt a lump in my left breast and life suddenly shifted from working, sports, and dating to doctor appointments, wig shopping, and hospital visits. It was a whirlwind of emotion and action. I underwent surgery, chemo, and radiation, … Read more
When Kirsten Erlandsen was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2008, she approached her treatment like it was one of her road races. The mother of two knew that completing each treatment session brought her one stop closer to the “finish line” and her goal of becoming cancer-free. However, after a year of running … Read more
On a sunny July afternoon, Michelle Lemieux ran onto the field at Fenway Park to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during a Boston Red Sox home game. While the crowd of over 36,000 people continued to applaud as Lemieux ran back to her family, only a handful in attendance could truly appreciate what she … Read more
Julia Maues was excited to find out she was pregnant — and then she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through chemotherapy and delivered a healthy baby boy, but shortly after the birth, she learned that the cancer had spread throughout her body. She would need lifetime of treatment for metastatic breast cancer. The … Read more
What is metastatic breast cancer? Metastatic breast cancer (also referred to as advanced stage or stage IV breast cancer) is breast cancer that has spread (or metastasized) from the breast and adjacent lymph nodes to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, bones, brain, or liver. Why does breast cancer spread? Breast cancer … Read more
Krista Lawrence likes to joke with her two adult children that they don’t need to get married and have their own kids just because she has metastatic breast cancer. In fact, thanks to her excellent response to a clinical trial at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, Lawrence is enjoying each … Read more
Monica Jones was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2015, at the same she was dealing with infertility issues. Thanks to one very special friend and support from the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, Monica and her husband Matthew had the best possible outcome: Their daughter, Ella, now … Read more
Anne Palmer never thought she’d face a tougher challenge than aggressive breast cancer. Then, shortly after finishing treatment, she learned her 25-year-old son, Kevin, had an inoperable brain tumor. The two diagnoses, which came in 2012 and 2014, allowed mother and son – who were already close – to bond even more deeply during their … Read more
A clinical trial at Dana-Farber has kept Sharon DeCosta’s stage IV metastatic breast cancer stabilized for three years, allowing her a full life of traveling and doting on her three young grandchildren, with a fourth due in December.
Five notable pieces of advice from two Dana-Farber metastatic breast cancer patients, Hanna Homenko and Krista Lawrence.
Each time the metastatic breast cancer spreads too deeply into Sayde Patel’s lungs, she changes clinical trials. And after six switches in 10 years, she maintains a glass-half-full attitude about the process.
In early 2015, Kim Delling had put her 2009 bout with breast cancer behind her. Then, at a routine checkup, her doctor ordered an additional test. “I knew something was up,” recalls Delling, a 50-year-old real estate agent in Wilmington, Mass. The cancer had come back. It had spread to her lungs, liver, and lymph nodes and … Read more
When breast cancer spreads beyond the breast to other parts of the body, such as the bones, brain, and/or other organs, it is called metastatic breast cancer. Depending on their location, metastatic cancer growths can cause pain and neurologic symptoms such as numbness and weakness. Patients with metastatic breast cancer, which is treatable but not … Read more