Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, known as stage IV breast cancer. It occurs when the cancer develops the ability to spread to other organs in the body – most commonly the liver, lung, bone, soft tissues or brain. Even though the cancer involves other organs, it’s still treated as breast cancer.
I grew up thinking I wanted to be a reconstructive plastic surgeon, because I wanted to change lives. I felt it was my calling to make life better for those who struggled, but the amount of school was rather daunting, so I chose a different route in computer science.
Because of AML’s aggressive nature, it traditionally requires aggressive—and immediate—treatment that involves intensive, high-dose chemotherapy and many weeks in the hospital. For older patients, however, such grueling treatment isn’t always promising, and many are mistakenly advised that their time and options are limited.
Four weeks after her 33rd birthday, Crystal found a lump in her breast. When she told a good friend and co-worker — whose mother happened to be in treatment for metastatic breast cancer — the friend told her, “Don’t mess around.”
I was told the tumor was inoperable and I had two years to live if I received chemotherapy and radiation. Just two years.