Sponsored By: Beyond Pink: Sharing Our Metastatic Breast Cancer Story, a program brought to you by AstraZeneca
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is considered the most advanced stage of breast cancer, with which approximately 175,000 American women are currently living. When a patient is diagnosed with MBC, it means their cancer has spread to other areas of the body besides the breasts, such as the brain, bones, lungs or liver.
On October 19, EmpowHER and Beyond Pink: Sharing Our Metastatic Breast Cancer Story, a program brought to you by AstraZeneca, hosted an educational webinar to help patients and loved ones better understand the importance of knowing your hormone status when living with MBC.
The webinar provided both a doctor and patient perspective of MBC with hosts Dr Joyce O'Shaughnessy, MD, Celebrating Women Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center in Dallas, Texas, and Amy Lessack, a board member of Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
Throughout the presentation, Dr O’Shaughnessy explained how hormones impact MBC, noting that the tumor’s hormone receptor status can help drive the development of MBC. For example, if there is too much of a hormone such as estrogen or progesterone being produced, it can stimulate tumor growth. She also notes that it is important to have your tumors tested to confirm if hormones are impacting the growth, and that those living with MBC may want to consider talking to their doctor about re-biopsying the tumor, as hormone receptor status can change over time. Dr O’Shaughnessy also touches on tests and screenings that are available, as well as MBC treatment options and tips for talking with your medical team.
Lessack shared her experiences living with MBC and how important it is to become an advocate for your own health. She stressed the importance of connecting with others to educate yourself about the disease and gain support and inspiration on your MBC journey. She also shared tips for talking with your medical team to ensure you are involved in treatment decisions. For example, because it can be difficult to process the information your doctor shares with you immediately, it is important to ask questions, write down all of the key information discussed and follow up with your doctor afterward if there’s anything you don’t understand. Lessack also noted that you should consider taking a trusted friend or family member to your doctor’s visits, as everyone hears and processes information differently and this can help ensure you don’t misunderstand key information. Being educated about MBC is one of the best ways to advocate for yourself and can help make informed decisions along the MBC journey. For more tailored MBC information visit LifeBeyondPink.com.
For a full recap of the webinar, watch the video below: