GREECE, N.Y. (WROC)- A local woman is taking on the federal government, hoping to increase funding for the incurable and deadly disease, metastatic breast cancer.
Susan Rahn has metastatic breast cancer, she was diagnosed in 2013. Rahn’s breast cancer went undetected despite frequent mammograms ultimately spreading to her ribs and her spine. Rahn said the reason doctors didn’t catch the breast cancer earlier that year is because the technician read it incorrectly.
“Once it metastasizes and gets outside the breast its just treatment and treatment until there are no more options left,” Rahn said.
More than 40,000 women are expected to die from breast cancer this year and about 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer is often not talked about, Rahn said, because people try to focus on the positive side of breast cancer, or early detection.
“Early detection means to a lot of people that they are cured and that’s not the case,” Rahn said.
Once it has metastasized there is no cure.
The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network said of the funding breast cancer research receives, only 7-percent of 15-billion dollars went to metastatic breast cancer research.
“We’ve had enough of the pink, we’ve had enough of the sexualization of breast cancer,” Rahn said. ” We want the government to allocate 30- percent of the research money to metastatic until they understand the mechanisms and understand until then we are not going to have a cure.”
Dr. Marilyn Ling, an Associate Professor with the Department of Radiation and Oncology at the University of Rochester Wilmont Cancer Institute said metastatic breast cancer is one of the most underfunded, “This is where it’s so important to raise awareness about that because its a growing population of patients, who can live well for many years.”
Rahn and about 300 people are traveling on Tuesday in Washington D.C. for a “Die in Protest.” They will lay down on the west lawn of the US Capitol Building to symbolize the 1,430 people worldwide who die every day from advanced breast cancer. The event will serve as a way to demand additional funding, the group will meet with congressmen and legislators to voice their concerns.
Tuesday also happens to be Metastatic Awareness Day. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.