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, … Continued
Metastatic breast cancer
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 … Continued
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 … Continued
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 … Continued
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 … Continued
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 … Continued
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 … Continued
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 … Continued
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 … Continued
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 … Continued
When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, such as the bones, brain, liver, or lungs, it is called metastatic (also referred to as advanced or stage IV) breast cancer. While it is not curable, metastatic breast cancer can be treatable — especially with the advent of new therapies, including biologic targeted treatments … Continued
By Lisa J. Frank I am a five-time cancer survivor – four times breast, one time melanoma – and a patient at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers. I am also a full-time practicing attorney who is living life to the fullest with stage IV breast cancer that has spread to my … Continued
By Eric Winer, MD When I was a first-year oncologist in 1990, there were 150,000 cases of breast cancer each year in the U.S. and 44,000 deaths. Breast cancer back then was viewed as a single disease. When patients asked me, “What kind of breast cancer do I have?” I would say, “You have stage … Continued
As a breast cancer survivor living an hour away from Boston, Deb Ragosta was thrilled when Milford Regional Medical Center – located just a few minutes from her Hopedale, Mass., home – became affiliated with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) in 2008. While she had completed active treatment in 1995, she knew the partnership … Continued
By Srivani Ravoori, PhD, American Association for Cancer Research This post first appeared on the Cancer Today website. In a study presented Dec. 7 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, researchers conducted genomic analysis of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive metastatic breast cancer samples that had become resistant to therapies. They found multiple alterations that were not … Continued
By Sandy Cassanelli Finding out I had breast cancer in 2013 was very hard; learning two years later that my cancer was metastatic was even more distressing. But both times, exercise helped me face my situation. I was in the best shape of my life when I was diagnosed at age 36. I was running, … Continued
When facing a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, patients often have many questions about clinical trials: Is a clinical trial right for me? When is a good time to consider a clinical trial? What types of treatments might be available? While there may be many questions about the process, the decision to participate in a … Continued