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New breast cancer advocacy group to meet

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From Contributed Reports

Monday, July 16, 2018

North Carolina's first advocacy group for persons with metastatic breast cancer — the North Carolina Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance — has been established.

Stephanie L. Walker, RN, BSN, said she founded the group in order to make metastatic breast cancer patients, like herself, aware that there are others battling the disease and that they are not alone.

“While I've become part of several online communities located in other states, I was unable to find such a group in North Carolina, nor was I able to locate a physical organization here,” Walker. said “This is a face-to-face group that will meet on a monthly basis so that its members may offer support to one another and provide educational support. We will also maintain a social media presence and connection.”

Walker said the group held its first meeting in June in Pittsboro and will meet next at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Prime Smokehouse at 207 E. Thomas St. in Rocky Mount. Walker said the meetings will be moved around the state to increase accessibility. 

“We feel this is much-needed,” she said. “Despite technology, there is a difficulty that exists in disseminating information — even in a community like Tarboro, where there is a large breast cancer population and a cancer center.

“Duke (Cancer Center) doesn't even have a metastatic breast cancer group to offer support to its own patients.”

Metastatic breast cancer, Stage IV, or advanced breast cancer is the spread of cancer cells beyond the breast to other organs of the body. Metastases account for greater than 90 percent of cancer deaths. In metastatic breast cancer, this translates to nearly 40,000 deaths annually in the U.S. and more than 500,000 deaths worldwide. Metastatic breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women under age 50.

According to 2015 statistics compiled by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, there are about 6,700 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed annually in North Carolina. The report indicates the breast cancer incidence rate and trend in North Carolina are significantly higher than that observed in the United States as a whole.

For more information, contact Walker at swalk58@yahoo.com on Twitter at @swalk58 or by phone at 985-789-0411.

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