Metastatic Breast Cancer: We Are the Cheated

A woman living with metastatic breast cancer writes a poem about her reality.

Before I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I didn’t know just how devastating this disease can be. I didn’t know metastatic breast cancer took over 41,000 lives per year in the United States. I didn’t know that only 2 percent of funds are used to research metastatic disease. I didn’t know 30 percent of early stage patients would become metastatic. I didn’t know the five-year survival rate for metastatic breast cancer was around 22 percent. I didn’t know the average survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is 18-24 months. There is so much I didn’t know and so much that is not discussed when it comes to breast cancer awareness. These are the things they don’t tell you, the unspoken truth and the denial of our reality. What I’ve learned the hard way is...

We are the cheated,

Our lives defeated.

Breast cancer that is metastatic.

How can I say this and be more emphatic?

This disease is not chronic.

It seems so ironic.

Cancer’s distant spread

has me seeing red.

Not another pink ribbon.

Let a cure be our mission.

With so many so sick,

for some death comes too quick.

Breast cancer, they say,

takes 116 lives each day.

Let’s be clear,

that’s over 41,000 dead each year.

One in eight

Will meet this fate.

With MBC it’s one in three.

Yes, that would be me.

Through all we endure,

We continue dying for a cure.

Too little, too late,

The research simply can’t wait.

Save us all.

Please hear our call.

Metastatic funding is 2 percent.

Nowhere near enough money spent.

The time is now

for a cure, somehow.

Early stage or late,

none should have to wait.

Living in fear,

never knowing if our end is near.

Survivor’s guilt,

lost friendships we’ve built.

With more progression

comes the depression.

On the days I can’t do this,

I remember just what I will miss.

I keep going.

And hope the disease is slowing.

While we are the cheated,

a cure is so desperately needed.

This poem was originally submitted for the CURE® 2021 Poetry Contest. Submissions are open until August 15 and poems can be submitted here.

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