Extraordinary People

Mother battling cancer creates support website to help others cope

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) - If you know someone with metastatic breast cancer, you know the prognosis can be terrifying. Metastatic means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

There's no cure, but in our Extraordinary People report, we meet a Rochester woman trying to change that.

“I would give anything to see him graduate from medical school but the likelihood is slim.” Susan Rahn is the proud mom of a pre-med student. She's also battling metastatic breast cancer. She says she had regular mammograms and did self exams, so when she was diagnosed.

“When I realized my prognosis was literally 18 to 36 months, I was horrified,” she says.

But she didn't let that stop her from taking action. She is constantly traveling for fundraisers and other efforts to help combat breast cancer. “The more voices we have the more power we have and the more change we can make.”

Not long after being diagnosed, Susan started a website called theunderbelly.org where others with breast cancer can go to share their stories. “I'm hoping that I can leave behind some kind of footprint and that I can make my son proud. That's all I can hope for.”

She knows it's controversial but she's also an advocate for the Medical Aid in Dying Act. She believes the terminally ill should have choices.

“I don't want my family to sit bedside and I don't want my son to watch me die that way,” Susan says.

“If I have something to say, I say it because life is too short. I don't have the luxury of keeping quiet to keep other people comfortable.”

And she has no plans to keep quiet. Susan says she'll keep fighting for a cure for the rest of her life.

According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for people with stage 4 breast cancer is 22 percent. Susan just hit the five year mark last month.


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