I promise I’m not here to lecture you, and certainly not here to take you on a journey through academia, but I am here to remind everyone just how important research is when it comes to healthcare.
To start – research is literally the reason why we have the treatments that we use today. That Herceptin/Perjeta you maybe spent a year on? Someone had to discover it, study the most effective use of it, weigh the risks versus the benefits, and collect long term data to continue to support the use of it clinically.
Another example – research is part of the reason why we have options when it comes to reconstruction. The choice to go flat, have implants, autologous tissue transfers, have unilateral or bilateral surgeries is not an option taken lightly. Those options are all because somebody out there had a new idea, and spent time researching what types of patients do best with each procedure, the risks/benefits of each procedure, and the opportunities to educate patients and healthcare providers on their choices.
Research is also the reason that many of my friends with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) are still alive. It is sadly not uncommon for standard treatments to stop working for those with MBC, but because of the existence of clinical trials, they are able to try and pursue new and emerging treatment options. Clinical trials don’t happen on their own though – they require funding (aka cash money money) to exist, to grow, and to be available to people from all over. Survival in this case has a lot to do with accessibility to trials (i.e. do you live near trials that you are eligible for), and financial status (i.e. can you afford to travel to a trial if there isn’t one near you). Despite the fact that about 30% of all early stage breast cancers will become Stage IV/MBC, funding for MBC research is low, totaling only 2-5% of all funding for breast cancer research.
In October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), there are typically a TON of “Pink Runs” that “support” breast cancer. I encourage you to do your research before signing up for anything, and make sure you know where the funds will really go. In Chicago, there’s a new race that will be put on October 5th, and I’m so excited that all proceeds from the 2019 Great Pink Run Chicago will directly support the collaborative efforts of leading breast cancer researchers at the University of Chicago Ludwig Center for Metastasis Research and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as they work to better understand breast cancer that has spread, or metastasized, to other parts of the body, and identify and test new approaches for metastatic breast cancer.
I hope many of you will join me for The Great Pink Run! I’ve created an “Affirmations from Cancer” team, and anyone is welcome to join it. Registration is super easy – just go to the link here for info and for registration. The more people that we get – the more money that we raise – the more MBC research we fund – the more lives we save.