“Seeing Red During Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” By Anne Loeser, NPR.

The public has often been misled by pink ribbon messages that exaggerate prevention and cures for breast cancer.

The lump first surfaced in my breast in 1989, when I was 36 years old. My mammogram was completely normal. But four years later I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. My treatment was among the most aggressive available: surgery (a double mastectomy), chemotherapy and five years of hormonal therapy to keep my hormone-sensitive breast cancer quiescent. There was no further sign of my cancer after my surgery. In 2007, I developed a chronic dry cough. Four years later I lost my voice. I had extensive metastatic breast cancer in my lungs, a full 18 years after my early stage breast cancer diagnosis. Unbeknownst to me then, up to 30 percent of those diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will eventually develop metastatic breast cancer, which carries a 98 percent mortality rate. Despite decades of awareness months, survival has remained depressingly flat. The fact is, each year over 40,000 women and 400 men die of metastatic breast cancer, and the median survival is only two to three years.

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