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Suzanne Leempoels

Living with metastatic breast cancer

ForTheChance to become a grandmother one day


At the end of my early breast cancer treatment my scans showed a local recurrence and metastasis in my lung. The first thought that crossed my mind was that I wanted to see my grandchildren one day and that I was certainly not ready to die.

Despite the metastasis my oncologist opted for a curative treatment. 5 years later my scans show that the cancer is still inactive. Instead of death, I am still alive. I soon realised however that I had largely underestimated the impact of metastatic breast cancer on all aspects of my life. I survive, but do I thrive?

The past 5 years I have learned that it can be a real challenge to live with metastatic cancer. As we live longer, we have to cope with underestimated and sometimes completely unforeseen bounds in all aspects of our lives. As the next generation of metastatic cancer patients will probably live longer, we need to find out of the box solutions to counter the non-medical pitfalls and obstacles that limit our professional opportunities, reduce our contribution to society, restrict our quality of life and trap us in financial insecurity and emotional isolation fuelled by unawareness.

I have the privilege of surviving longer than the average metastatic breast cancer patient. My therapy gives me extra living time and I want to make the most of it, not only for myself, but also for other metastatic breast cancer patients. I consider it my duty to honour all people who died of cancer by using this extra time to raise awareness for the fact that living with cancer is more than just a medical problem. It is also a huge emotional social, economic and financial issue we need to resolve by finding new innovative ways to allow metastatic cancer patients to fully live their lives.

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