Ann W was 38 when breast cancer came into her life. After chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, 14 years later, she’s still going strong.
Ann W. said she was in remission for seven years. Since then she’s been on a new generation of drugs — drugs that seem to work for about a year before cancer reappears. When it does, she does a round of chemotherapy or radiation, and switches to another drug.
“This has happened four times. One drug was good for two years,” she said cheerily.
“Things have changed. Cancer isn’t a kiss of death. You live a good life, with a good quality of life. It’s not to say it’s not scary, and yes, I’ll probably die of this disease, but my husband and I have tried to keep a balance with it. Nobody has any guarantees,” Wolz said.
Once breast cancer returns to spread beyond the breast, it’s no longer curable — but it can be held in check, sometimes for years, depending on how aggressive the tumor proves to be.
Ann W, “It’s good to keep bones as healthy as possible and unattractive to cancer. That’s the term they use,” “I have a really good quality of life. I’ve worked hard to maintain it through all the recurrences.” Ann W said.
She travels frequently for business. And when managing a show she’s putting in 15- to 18-hour days. On her feet.
Her husband and family tell her not to work so much, but it’s important to her to keep her hands-on approach to business. She sees quitting work as letting cancer win. But she has cut down to about five shows a year instead of her usual 10.
And when she’s not working, she’s not sitting around. “Life is precious and I’m not going to waste my time doing things that aren’t important to me,” she said.
In 2004, when she was 49, she decided to make one of her dreams come true — a dream of going to Tuscany, Italy. Wolz, 12 girlfriends and one man who was a longtime friend from college went there for a week of cooking classes and sightseeing. Today, she calls it “one of the most phenomenal weeks of my life.”
It’s “becoming increasingly more common that women with metastatic breast cancer are living longer, and we have lots of good treatment choices that can be used.” It’s harder to give the same chemotherapy for years on end, usually because of the side effects. Patients need a break, but even chemo is getting “kinder and gentler.”
“A patient who had liver metastases from breast cancer diagnosed in the early 1990s who is still doing great.” (Liver metastases are generally much more life-threatening than bone metastases).
Patients have lived with bone metastases for 10 to 12 years, having never needed chemo. Almost 213,000 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and almost 41,000 will die, according to the American Cancer Society. The vast majority survive, if the disease is caught early.
But about 20 % of women thought to have been treated successfully at first nonetheless see their cancer return. But treatment is easiest if the recurrence is limited to the breast area. Survival is much shorter if the cancer spreads aggressively to vital organs such as the liver, lungs or brain.
Doctors say “I don’t have a crystal ball about how a patient is going to do. I can tell you that many patients with exactly the circumstances do very well for a number of years,” Carey said. “And the fact that she is a healthy person, and that there isn’t a lot of the cancer, and that she doesn’t have symptoms, all work in her favor.”
Cancer is no longer a death sentence. It is always a warning to take a serious look at your life. Survival is increased with a clean diet of fresh fruit and vegetable and suppression of processed foods laden with chemicals. A positive frame of mind and a passion or interest help stimulate the immune system and increase the persons will to survive.
Dr Magne has been researching the origins and causes of disease and cancer for the past 25 years. Visit www.cancer-free-for-life.com to receive a FREE report on The 10 Ways to Cure Cancer Immediately. This article is available for reprint for your website and newsletter, provided that you maintain its copyright integrity and include the signature.