Megan, 28, shares her story of being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) — and why she chose to join the Every Day for MBC community.
When Megan was 23, she noticed something felt off while performing a routine breast exam in the shower.
“I found a very, very small lump that I had never noticed before in my right breast. It was really hard and distinct. So, I told my mom, ‘Let's go to the doctor right away.’”
Megan’s doctor told her she had nothing to worry about. But six months later, Megan noticed the lump had grown in size. After going back to the doctor for an ultrasound and a biopsy, she was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. After multiple treatments, Megan was declared cancer-free. A few years later, she went to the emergency room after experiencing severe headaches. Unfortunately, her cancer had relapsed, and she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
“The doctors tell me now that if they had caught it earlier or if the doctor took my concern seriously, it probably would have been stage one instead of stage three,” she says. “I share my story to encourage others to speak up, learn, and find hope.”
What is metastatic breast cancer?
MBC is also known as stage four (IV) breast cancer. In this stage, the cancer has spread from the breast to other parts of the body. Metastatic breast cancer is a terminal disease. It’s not curable — even with multiple rounds of treatment.
“It’s hard to deal with the lack of understanding for MBC. I wish people knew that if we stopped treatment, that usually means end of life. You’re always going to be on some type of treatment as long as it works,” Megan says.
While an estimated 140,000 people in the US have MBC, living with a terminal cancer diagnosis can feel very isolating.
How Megan found community
Connecting with other people who are going through the same thing can make a big difference. That’s why Megan joined Seagen’s Every Day for MBC — an Instagram community for those with MBC to come together and share what it’s really like living with this disease every day. It’s a supportive, filter-free place where everyone can be heard.
“If I’m having a hard time grasping something like hair loss or whatever, I can text my friends and we send each other pictures of our bald heads. It’s just another reminder that I’m not alone,” Megan says. “Throughout all of the heartache, pain, and worry, I’ve worked hard to beat the fear that comes with this disease. My strength comes from my faith, my amazing family and friends, and the MBC community.”
What gets Megan through the day-to-day with MBC?
“You have to let yourself go through stages of grief,” Megan says. “MBC takes so much away from you,” she says. “Your hair, your energy, the way your body used to be…Some days I’m so heartbroken it physically hurts. But the important thing is that I do not allow myself a lot of time to feel this way.”
In 2022, Megan began working as an inpatient oncology social worker at the University of Virginia Hospital. There, she connects with other people facing a cancer diagnosis.
“People say, ‘It's crazy you work with cancer patients.’ But I chose to do that because I can truly understand what [they] are going through,” she says.
What Megan wants everyone to know
“Remember to advocate for yourself. I don’t want people to learn the hard way, like I did. I should have demanded an ultrasound at the first visit,” Megan says.
“And remember everyone is going through something. [But] in the midst of all the chaos and pain, there is still so much joy and beauty to be found,” she adds. “Each day is a new day that I’m so thankful for.”
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are looking for support, know you’re not alone. Join the Every Day for MBC community on Instagram to hear more from Megan and others in the community.
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