Gov. Parson Proclaims October 13, 2019 “Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day” in Missouri
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – October 11, 2019 – When she was 34, Rebecca Schutz of O’Fallon had just given birth to her third child when she discovered a lump in her breast. Unfortunately, her worst fears were confirmed when she was given the news that what started as breast cancer had spread to other organs. Schutz is living with metastatic breast cancer. She knows she is lucky to be alive but doesn’t take life for granted.
As a volunteer cancer advocate with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Missouri, Schutz wants to do more than survive cancer; she wants to fight the devasting disease by educating the public and policymakers about the need for cancer research funding and access to care. Recently, she asked Gov. Mike Parson to help raise awareness about metastatic breast cancer, which robs 860 Missourians of their lives every year. Her story helped convince the governor to do exactly that as he proclaimed October 13, 2019 “Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.”
In a letter to the governor, Schutz wrote:
“People like me, who are terminally ill and know we are dying, have a different outlook on life. We appreciate the small moments that take your breath away and cherish time we have left. In its own way this has been a horrible blessing. I know that I will not likely live to see my three beautiful daughters who are currently 9, 7, and 4, graduate high school or college and definitely won't be around to watch them get married and have children of their own. But every day I tell them how much I love them and leave them bits of my knowledge to carry in their hearts with them through life, in the moments they want me there, but I simply cannot be.”
Schutz asked for the governor’s help in making Missourians aware that chemotherapy never ends for some breast cancer patients. Metastatic breast cancer patients endure ongoing cancer scans and often wait anxiously for test results every few months. For them, research is the only hope.
“We have to study and gain instrumental knowledge of the metastatic variety of breast cancer. Our very lives are depending on research and knowledge gained to give us just one more good year,” Schutz said in her letter to the governor. “And, everyone should have access to breast cancer screenings and lifesaving treatment without financial hardship.”
Currently no cure exists for metastatic breast cancer and many of those with metastatic breast cancer will continue treatment with the goal of extending the best quality life possible. One in eight women in the U.S. could be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. In Missouri, it is expected that 5,350 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019.
The governor’s proclamation encourages individuals diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer to speak with their physician to learn more about the disease and find support groups and services in their community or online.
For the latest information on breast cancer, go to the American Cancer Society’s website. Free breast cancer screenings are available to uninsured Missouri women who meet age and income guidelines by visiting a provider through the Show Me Healthy Women program. To locate a provider, call the Show Me Healthy Women program at 1-866-726-9926 or visit the website.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.