Currently Viewing
Beyond October: What's Next for Breast Cancer Survivors?
October 27, 2016 – Khevin Barnes
Cancer Research Advocacy: Progress With a Side of Heartbreak
October 25, 2016 – Jamie Holloway, PhD
Peripheral Neuropathy Is More Than a Cancer Side Effect
October 24, 2016 – Martha Carlson
Role Reversal: Caring for a Sibling With Cancer
October 21, 2016 – Kim Johnson
Roadmap to Cancer: Advice for Caregivers for an Unmapped Journey
October 20, 2016 – Kim Johnson
Coping with Cancer's Side Effects
October 19, 2016 – Barbara Tako
After Cancer: The Beautiful Broken
October 18, 2016 – Bonnie Annis
Breast Cancer Diagnosis: 30 Years Later
October 18, 2016
October 17, 2016 – Samira Rajabi

Beyond October: What's Next for Breast Cancer Survivors?

The party is over. Now what?
PUBLISHED October 27, 2016
Khevin Barnes is a Male Breast Cancer survivor, magician and speaker. He is currently writing, composing and producing a comedy stage musical about Male Breast Cancer Awareness. He travels wherever he is invited to speak to (and do a little magic for) men and women about breast cancer.
I’m a male breast cancer survivor, but that didn’t prevent me from celebrating with the purpose and intentions behind the month-long feminine festival sometimes known as “Pinktober.” In fact, since most women are pretty well tuned in to the breast cancer threat, I am particularly enthused by the prospect of getting the word out to the men of the world that guys get breast cancer, too. I also support the idea of creating a similar organized awareness platform for men.

But when November rolls in, we feel the chill of autumn as we know it, and the October pink events slip away without much residual fanfare.

As a long-time competitive runner, all of this reminds me of the races I ran for so many years. A marathon requires months of preparation to properly prepare for the mental test of the grueling 26 miles, along with the physical stress of the task. A mix of endorphins and adrenaline serve as fuel, and when the finish line is crossed, runners feel a great sense of relief in completing the race, as well as an appreciation for the body that carried them.

So what happens when the 31 days of October end? Do we lose the steam needed to connect with fellow cancer survivors to support and encourage each other as we move forward with our health and healing? Or do we shake off the fatigue of our race with cancer, and begin preparations for the next run?

The choice is ours of course, but it seems to me that even those of us who are fortunate enough to reach that magic five-year mark in our survival never really stop training for the continuing marathon ahead.

Cancer may remove itself from our bodies, but does it ever really vanish from our lives? When October is over, what’s next for breast cancer survivors?

If you are new to cancer, you are most likely an active participant in your quest for a cure. And if you have seen many Octobers come and go, your involvement in the day-to-day regimen of conquering cancer, though no less sincere, has perhaps found a gentler path.

Either way, like a pulled hamstring from overtraining, our connection with cancer seems to push us through the pain, although perhaps a bit slower than in years past. Our “finish line” tends to fade on the horizon, as the opportunity we have to be of service to some of the 14 million world-wide cancer survivors who appear every year seems to grow. The result is often a renewed sense of comradery between men and women, all with the common goal of outrunning cancer.

So October is never really gone. It just transitions into another, somewhat quieter month at a slightly slower pace, but with a direction and objective that never loses its footing. The phrase “run for your life!” has never been more appropriate. And “Race for the Cure” has never been more meaningful.    
Continue the conversation on CURE’s forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the Breast cancer CURE discussion group.

Related Articles


Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In