Health & Wellness

Nonprofit Fights Back Against Terminal Form of Breast Cancer

The volunteer-led organization, METAvivor, uses every cent of every donation to fund vital research for metastatic (stage IV) breast cancer.

"I need years but I want decades."

Pam Hogue is just 32 years old, yet she has already lived 10 months longer than expected. Pam has metastatic breast cancer (MBC), also known as stage IV breast cancer. She was only 28 when she was diagnosed with the disease, which is terminal and has a median life expectancy of less than 3 years from diagnosis.

MBC is a form of breast cancer that spreads beyond the breast to other parts of the body. Very little is known about this disease, which is why research is so vitally important. A national organization called METAvivor is the sole U.S. organization dedicated to awarding annual stage IV breast cancer research. I got together with a group of women in Pittsburgh, PA to learn more about how we can turn the tide in the battle against MBC:

The amount of breast cancer awareness (i.e. pink-colored merchandise) that exists today is no substitute for scientific research of the disease. "We as a society are looking the other way," says Sasha Milicevic, breast cancer survivor and METAvivor volunteer. "It's easier to buy pink junk. It's easier - pink is warm and fuzzy."

Sasha is one of the co-chairs of a large fundraising event in Pittsburgh this spring called the " Metsquerade ." All of the proceeds from this event will go to METAvivor and, by proxy, to research. The crucial need for this research is illustrated by the fact that there has been "no statistically significant improvement" in MBC survival rates in the last 20 years, per the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The best medical breakthroughs have only been able to add months to some patients' lives, which is not acceptable to patients like Pam:

"Months are simply not enough when you’re 32 and should have your entire life ahead of you. MBC can be daunting but it won’t get the best of me. I’ll use my voice for as long as I have it.” - Pam Hogue

To learn more about Metastatic Breast Cancer and what you can do to help, here are some helpful links.

- METAvivor

- Donate to Pittsburgh Metsquerade

- Find a local MBC support group

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