LITTLE FALLS, NJ -- Tami Bowling, Co-founder of Metavivors of New Jersey, spoke with TAPintoTV’s Executive Producer, Brian Brodeur, about the upcoming “Light Up MBC” event, which takes place virtually and in-person on Tuesday, October 13, 8pm EST. Bowling also spoke about her own personal history and struggle with metastatic breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC), otherwise known as Stage 4 breast cancer, occurs when a patient’s cancer has left the breast and has traveled to other parts of the body, most frequently, the lungs, liver, bones and/or brain. “Once it spreads, there is no cure,” said Bowling. Women with earlier stages of breast cancer have very high rates of survival, but after a MBC diagnosis , the average life expectancy is two to three years. And yet, “only five percent of overall breast cancer research funding goes to stage 4 research,” she said. “We need more treatment options to turn this from a deadly disease into a chronic one.”
Bowling herself was diagnosed with MBC at the age of 41, despite being in otherwise great health and with no history of breast cancer in her family. Her cancer was discovered via a routine mammogram, by which time it had already spread to her liver. Prior to this, “I’d ever only had one mammogram in my life,” she said.
“My advice to women is to really know and be comfortable with your body,” Bowling said. She advised women to start doing self-exams from a young age, so they will notice if and when something feels different. “You think that it can’t happen to you until it does,” she said.
Bowling noted that despite the high cure rates with lower stages of breast cancer, it’s not unusual for a stage 0 cancer to come back as metastatic breast cancer, and urged for more research specifically targeted to MBC. “If we can find a cure or more treatment for stage 4 breast cancer, we can solve all the stages,” she said.
To learn more metastatic breast cancer and how to watch the “Light Up MBC” event on October 13, visit www.metavivor.org.