Friday, March 25, 2011

"Just" Breast Cancer

I'm sensing a theme in my blogging pattern lately. Someone says something that rubs me the wrong way, and I then blog my way to proving them wrong. This week is no different. This week's statement is courtesy of someone I asked for a donation:

"Well, if it's JUST for breast cancer, then I'm going to have to say no."

Just? JUST?!

I'm going to skip over the statistics that we've all heard about the number of people who die every year from breast cancer. I'm going to skip over the number of people who have survived breast cancer thanks to early detection and treatment. Instead, I'm going to tell you about my friend, Allison.

That's Allison and I at the Race For A Cure in Nashville this past October. That was also one week before she had a 4 pound tumor taken off of her uterus. Here's her story:

In March of 2010, Allison learned that she had a very large fibroid tumor attached to her uterus. She had a great team of doctors that quickly ruled out the tumor being cancerous. She was placed on Lupron Depot shots for 6 months in hopes of shrinking the tumor before the doctors could even consider doing surgery to remove it. They weren't sure that they would be able to remove only the tumor even after these shots. A hysterectomy at age 26 is what Allison was potentially facing. On top of this, she had to have a catheter inserted because of the position of the tumor.

After an MRI in July 2010, it was determined that the shots had been successful in keeping the tumor from growing, but they had failed to shrink it at all. Allison was sent to a fertility specialist as a last ditch effort to find a miracle to shrink the tumor. The specialist decided to keep her on the shots, but also put her on drug called Femara.

Femara is commonly used in post-menopausal breast cancer patients in place of Tamoxifen.

After being on Femara for a few weeks, Allison started feeling better. Her organs that had been compromised by the tumor were functioning better. She was even able to have the catheter removed. On October 15, she underwent surgery to remove what had become a 4 pound tumor, and that was AFTER it had shrunk from the medication. The surgeon was able to remove only the tumor, keeping Allison from needing a hysterectomy at such a young age.

Medications like Femara don't just miraculously appear on the market. They have to be researched, developed, and tested. The money to fund that research, development and testing doesn't appear out of thin air either.

Before you say no to a donation that "just" goes to breast cancer, think about Allison. Because someone said yes, she is able to continue with a normal life and, hopefully one day, she'll give me a niece or nephew. I like the way Aunt Abbie sounds.

2 comments:

Sara said...

You are 100% right. It's never JUST cancer and there is still so much more to be done. Great post. Thanks and good luck in your 3day!

Leanne...the walker said...

Well put, Abby! I think having so much emphasis put on breast cancer will help us find a cure for ALL cancer. Let's pool our resources, find a cure for one so that we can find a cure for all.