Today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, we were very grateful to have metastatic breast cancer patient Sonya Lynch share her own written work with us to mark this awareness day: 

“I am 47 years young.

"I am the lucky mum of 3 great children and a hugely supportive husband.

"I used to work as a paediatric nurse but in the last 4 years have relished being a stay-at-home mum.

"I was first diagnosed with hormone positive breast cancer in 2014.

"Once spotted it was quickly identified and a clear plan was put in place.

"We knew it would be a difficult year, but we were hopeful that following Mastectomy, Chemotherapy, maintenance hormone therapy and reconstruction that life would return to feeling somewhat normal again.
With Chemotherapy and hair loss came vulnerability, but with the confidence that it would do its job brought optimism for a bright future.

"In 2018 after a long and terrifying wait, Metastatic Breast Cancer was confirmed post lung surgery biopsies. Again, vulnerability took hold but this time without the knowledge or the hope that brings optimism.
In my experience, back then talking about Metastasis amongst patients was avoided like a contagious disease.
The vulnerability of feeling you will never be cured can cause a disconnection with patients in the curable bracket and the breast cancer community. The energy it takes to “fight” cancer in knowing what you are up against in the metastatic world can be debilitating. Instead, we need to focus on the many wonderful drugs that are helping to extend our lives. The advancements in research and clinical trials. How we can play a part in improving early detection, improving cancer treatments, and extending the lives of metastatic cancer patients, which could reduce the fear of a metastatic diagnosis.

"I have gotten involved in patient advocacy projects in the past few years and there are many areas that we need to improve on. From my own experience and the feedback, I have found that Metastatic Breast Care patients in Ireland are suffering silently both mentally and physically. 

"From my experience it is not from the lack of care or compassion from our medical teams, but from a lack of understanding and resources available in our country to support us to live well with cancer.

"I have been through many different treatments in the past 4 years each with their own evil, but thankfully they have facilitated me to live with good function and most importantly quality of life.  Bone Mets is currently my biggest challenge. It is not enough for us to just target the cancer. Supports need to become available for all that is going on in the background due to metastases, side effects of treatments and fear of the unknown if treatments fail or if we run out of options.

"We are fortunate in this country to have so many people making efforts to create awareness and funding to improve our services and supports.

"Looking to the future I hope that Metastatic Breast Cancer patients will feel less isolated in their suffering. I would like to think that with better knowledge and understanding it will become less frightening for primary patients, and that together the breast cancer community can create awareness and support each other as best we can.”

Sonya has been a member of the Patient and Public Involvement Panel (PPI) for the Irish Cancer Society’s Women’s Health Initiative LYSA (Linking You to Support and Advice) study since its commencement in 2019.The LYSA clinical trial in Cork looks at providing a tailored survivorship service to women following treatment for breast and gynecological cancers; Sonya has been vocal about the needs for a metastatic service and has provided a voice for those living with advanced breast cancer.

As a result of this, The Irish Cancer Society is delighted to announce it will now be funding an additional scoping project in Cork, looking to support the unmet needs of patients living with metastatic breast cancer. This project was also made possible thanks to generous support from Pfizer and will be run by Professor Josephine Hegarty and Professor Roisin Connolly. 

The research aim is to ascertain the views of women and health care professionals in relation to how survivorship services could be developed into the future, to meet the needs of women with advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

If you are dealing with a metastatic cancer diagnosis, contact our Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 or to find out more about the supports like free counselling and our Peer Support Service that are available to you.

Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line

If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.

Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm

Roz, Cancer Nurseline

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