Why Early Stagers (and Everyone) Should Learn about Metastatic Breast Cancer

“I found out I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my doctor tried to reassure me that we caught it at an early stage. My doctor told me, if I do the right treatments, I can be a cancer survivor! What I want the most is to cancer-free and just go back to my normal life. I mean, I’ve heard stories and I’ve seen media reports that early detection saves lives, so I should be fine, right?”

Maimah holding a picture of Cat Odderstol who passed of Metastatic Cancer at 36.

One morning, Maimah Karmo felt a lump in her breast. Her whole world stopped. She knew that something was wrong, her body did not feel right. Her mother, a nurse by trade, taught her to seek answers and to be proactive about her health. After pushing for answers for six months, at 32 years old Maimah was diagnosed with stage 2, triple negative breast cancer. Like many women, she had to fight to receive the tests she needed to survive. At the time she was diagnosed, the recommended screening age for women was 45 and over. If she had not been self-advocating, the cancer may have progressed into stage 4 or worse…. Since then, Maimah has dedicated her life to ensure that all women have education, resources, and support in their journey through cancer. Like all women diagnosed with this uncertain disease, she doesn’t know what her future holds. This is why her life is a living legacy.

Metastatic Breast Cancer (mBC) is breast cancer that has spread beyond breast tissue and the surrounding lymph nodes to form tumors in other parts of the body such as bones, brain, liver, and lungs. If you have been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, it’s understandable if you don’t want to hear anything about mBC.  It is also understandable if all your focus is on wanting to get through your treatments and adjusting to the shock of your cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, more than 150,000 breast cancer survivors are living with metastatic disease, three-fourths of whom were originally diagnosed with stage 1-3. You may feel a range of emotions and struggle to stay positive and hopeful that cancer will not come back.  You may struggle to guide yourself through the medical system feeling scared and alone, fearing what might happen in the future.

The thing is, sometimes our fear can come to life when we don’t have all the information we need to take be vigilant and fearless advocates for our health. To benefit from advancements in research, testing and treatment, it is critical for all those touched by breast cancer to learn about the entire continuum of stages and possibilities, including mBC. Without access to correct information and timely treatments or clinical trials, your best life could be interrupted.

Metastatic breast cancer is the reality for far too many women across the world, many of these diagnosis’s can be prevented by early detection and treatments. Our mission is to one day see mBC as not a terminal disease but one that can be treated with a 100% success rate.

Tigerlily Foundation will be launching a video each day until October 28th. We will be sharing the stories of people who are mBC, eBC and those who have not been diagnosed with cancer. These stories build a bridge of knowledge, love, faith and transformation that help us understand the impacts of breast cancer and provide guidance that will help generations to come. As Nunny Keyla Reece describes when she was first diagnosed with mBC, “It was very clear that people had a fear to talk about mBC.  Even for myself, it was a scary thing to talk about.” But knowledge is power. As Nunny describes, “If you don’t talk about it, how will you gain the knowledge?”

Please join us as we launch our series of intimate vignettes. Share these videos and tag your friend using the hashtag #MyLifeIsMyLegacy.

Watch Tania’s Video Here!

Our #MyLifeIsMyLegacy Virtual Events:

Monday November 9th, 2020 – “A day in the life of” on Facebook Live hosted by Maimah Karmo

Monday November 16th, 2020 – “The stupid things people say” on Facebook Live hosted by Maimah Karmo

Monday November 23rd, 2020 – “What I wish I knew” on Facebook Live hosted by Maimah Karmo

Monday November 30th, 2020 – “What it’s important to talk about it early” on Facebook Live hosted by Maimah Karmo

Blogs and Educational Resources:

This Glossary of Terms will help you understand these important things about metastatic breast cancer.

Through MY LIFE Stories, we hope to inspire young women to see that as challenging as this experience might be, there are others like you, who are using their time in a powerful way.

Different Diagnoses, A Common Need for Information and Care

Talking About mBC Saves Lives

Caregivers Guidebook

Clinical Trials and You

This campaign has been generously supported by:

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