Marissa is a forty-something Flattie in sunny SoCal living with metastatic breast cancer, her boyfriend (and high school sweetheart) and her not so mini schnauzer, Heidi. She enjoys reading, stress baking and roller skating. She hopes to inspire others with her dry humor and zest for life.
“Pinktober” is a major month for women with breast cancer, but sometimes that mainstream awareness doesn’t cover the experience of all women with breast cancer. Including those with metastatic breast cancer.
Once again October is upon us which brings out the color pink— and all things pumpkin spice.
All month is breast cancer awareness month, which by this point we should all be aware of. Together we can advocate and use our voices for something more than pink, that encompasses many facets of living with breast cancer. October is a big month for those living in the breast cancer realm. In my opinion, there are a few share-worthy causes and notable happenings.
Starting with International Flat Day on October 7. Created in 2019, International Flat Day celebrates going flat and aesthetic flat closure as a mastectomy option. It also unites women all over the world sending a powerful message that flat is beautiful. Their campaign this year includes a social media posting opportunity based on the theme “Taking FLAT Around the Globe,” a FLAT walk, or adding yourself to their map, “Put FLAT on the Map.”
It has been said in the fashion world the color pink is known to take years off a person. I wouldn’t mind looking younger, but I certainly don’t want any years taken away from me. Not only am I living with metastatic breast cancer, but I am also a Flattie. What doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves in October, besides aesthetic flat closure, is metastatic breast cancer. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and one in three of those women will become metastatic. Twenty-two percent of those with metastatic breast cancer will live five years past their diagnosis. I am part of that twenty-two percent.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is on October 13th, only one day of the entire month, so let’s make it count. I am part of the MBC Project, another great cause to support any day of the year. The MBC Project’s goal is through the participation of patients to generate data to share with the research community to make meaningful discoveries.
I have submitted a saliva sample, blood sample and a stored tissue sample in the hopes that they will be able to develop new treatment strategies and save lives. Without research like this there would be no cure possible, just another reason to make sure if you buy anything “pink” in October that it supports research for metastatic breast cancer and not just awareness.
METAvivor is also one of the few charities committed to raising awareness and funds explicitly for Stage IV breast cancer research. We truly need more research and not more pink ribbons.
On October 13th another event called “Light Up MBC” will be taking place. Over 130 landmarks in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Ireland will light up in the MBC colors of green, teal and pink. It is such a dynamic reminder that breast cancer awareness month is more than just a ribbon. It’s about saving lives and honoring those who are no longer with us.
It’s about living to see another October through research and new discoveries. It’s about getting the message out that “Pink is not a Cure.” October to me is so much more than awareness. October is the time to promote these organizations trying to make a difference and give hope to those with breast cancer while remembering those who have gone before us.