BCAM 2021: Day #25

Language matters and the words that people use are so important. Here’s some words that are often misunderstood in this context:

Cure: many people who have breast cancer are told they are cured when they are at the place where cancer cannot be visibly detected in imaging tests or on bloodwork after a breast cancer diagnosis, early or later stage. The problem is that there is no cure for cancer of any stage. We simply don’t have the technology to see every single cancer cell.

Remission: most blood cancers (e.g., leukemia) can be said to go into remission once treatment has concluded and no cancer is detected in the blood. For people who have a blood cancer, remission can last for a small amount of time or a lifetime. Remission doesn’t fit the profile of solid tumor cancers and utilizing remission for breast cancer isn’t accurate since treatment is likely to be ongoing even if cancer cells cannot be detected by the technology we have today.

NED or NEAD (used for those of us with bone mets since healing bone often looks just like a cancerous bone on some imaging tests) is seen by many to be the “gold standard,” to be the Holy Grail to be obtained through treatment. Those of us living with MBC know that attaining NED or NEAD is a precarious situation since that status can be taken away just as fast.

Bottom line?

We need more time and the only way we get more time is by research into better medications, medications that last longer, technology that can detect the pesky cancer cells, and the key to unraveling the mysteries of cancer. Consider donating to research this month and every month so that people like me can get more time with our precious families.

6 thoughts on “BCAM 2021: Day #25

  1. Hi Abigail,

    Words are so important. When speaking about cancer, even more so. It makes me cringe whenever I hear a breast cancer patient proclaim they’re cured, as does hearing “I beat this” or you can “beat this”. Some docs even use the word cured. We can’t be casual or cavalier when tossing words around – about anything really. But definitely not when the topic is cancer. Thankfully, mine sticks with NED. Thank you for this series, Abigail. It’s so important.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Need is the word that best describes anything having to do with stage 4 to me:
    #stage4needsmore about sums it all up.
    We need more r&d
    We need more understanding of what it means to be TERMINAL – incurable, not able to treat beyond what our own body’s system outsmarts as the systemic treatments trigger off a smarter cancer that our bodies produce
    Need love
    Need touch
    Need not to feel like lepers
    We need so much and somehow feeling this month with so much loss we need time. Time to live. Time to mourn. Time for new treatments. Time to reach back and serve others. Time with our loved ones our families our friends our children our parents whomever is alive in our lives showing up and giving us support.

    But being women of self made, successful pre cancer lives the word need of sorts is a four letter word.

    I’ve had to learn this former curse word in a different connotation than losing my independent nature – the force I once was shifted to prolonging my life and I hope through work and advocacy the lives of others.

    We do need more.
    We need love from one another too.
    I can’t wait for this month to be over already. It’s enough of staying away from online ads, pink drinks, pink pink pink – and not the beautiful nick drake song either.

    I have the bucket of need labeled friendship always with room for more which seems to grow each day as I open my heart to the great friendships I’ve created in a community around me – enmeshed in a safety net of love ready to catch the tears, smile along with me, dance, sing, laugh and in the end mourn others and I hope morn and remember me when I’m gone.

    Need.
    That’s the word of MBC. Not NEEDY – totally different and completely wrongly connoted. I’m not confused on the meaning of the two.

    Love you Abigail.
    Yours is a friendship brought to me by common ground we never thought we’d be walking a path on together, but if I did have to walk it as I do, I’m glad to walk with you.

    Liked by 1 person

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