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An Open Letter and Joan Lunden and Met Breast Cancer

Posted 9/26/2014

Posted in

 How is that for a run on title? SInce our system rejects titles that contain any numbers or punctuation, I am forced to be creative and rather awkward. Thanks to Sharon for sending this on to me. Many of you are aware that Joan Lunden, the long-time co-host of Good Morning, America has breast cancer and has been refreshingly honest and public about her situation. We all wish her well.

  This open letter to Ms. Lunden, from the IBC Network, is supportive and empathetic and makes the excellent point that she has a real opportunity, a large bully pulpit, to bring attention to women with Stage IV or metastatic breast cancer. Especially as we near Pink October (and, yes, here I go again), the attention is almost completely on early detection and the false promise that early detection=cure. Wish that were always true.

  What is sadly and most certainly true is that women who are living, and often living well and long, with advanced or Stage IV or metastatic breast cancer (all mean the same thing) feel neglected or ignored or, worse, shunned. They are the dark secret of breast cancer, the upsetting reminder that somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 American women die of breast cancer every year. Yes, treatments have greatly improved and many women live years longer than they would have a few decades ago. In the end, however, Stage IV breast cancer is a fatal illness.

  Here is the start of this excellent letter and a link to read more:

An open letter to Joan Lunden
September 24, 2014 By IBCNetwork Leave a Comment
This is an open letter from one of our friends, living with IBC. She also guest blogs for the IBC Network. Also on a side note, about 40% of women diagnosed with IBC are also triple negative. It is time to talk.

Dear Ms. Lunden,

I was thrilled to see your cover photo on PEOPLE Magazine today. Your courage in showing your hairless head is much appreciated by those of us who have gone through the same experience. I know many women who have tolerated highly toxic chemotherapy, radiation and surgery to rid them of this killer. Bringing attention to triple negative breast cancer is also wonderful, as many are not aware that cancer is typed by hormone status and that TN is particularly aggressive.

I watched a report on your story on NBC NEWS. I recognized your “warrior mode” feelings that followed your diagnosis. I too became a warrior after my initial diagnosis of LCIS in the left breast back in late 2007. Due to a strong family history of breast cancer, I choose a bilateral mastectomy and immediate reconstruction.

One of the commentators noted that if “America’s mom” could get through this then we can too. Just 15 months after my surgery, I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Stage IV. Since then, I have been bald twice and am facing a third round of hairlessness. I am going to be starting my sixth chemotherapy medication and have had radiation twice in the past.


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