Thursday, October 4, 2018

Profile: Michael Kovarik

This post is an installment of our profile series featuring participants, loved ones, advocates, and team members of the MBCproject. Thank you to all who have shared their voice and stories.

Today's profile features Michael Kovarik.

Q1. In your own words, can you share with us your reasons for joining the Metastatic Breast Cancer project (MBCproject)?

My reasons for joining the Metastatic Breast Cancer project are centered on the strong belief that those of us living with Metastatic Breast Cancer must be counted. Only then will our voices (backed by the numbers) be able to affect those individuals who are able to infuse more money into research of MBC. It is research that will bring about change in our disease. First by striving to make this illness a chronic illness through research discoveries, be able to truly see the difference research makes on our community by knowing the number of women and men who are living with MBC and the effects of research on our longevity and quality of life and finally on the discovery of a cure.

Q2. Please tell us what being a part of the MBCproject means to you.

Being part of the MBCproject helps me feel counted and that I matter in the enormous community of breast cancer. It empowers me to strive for accountability in that we must know the true number of people living with this disease. I feel that I am part of the research that is striving to count us, to see what therapies are working, what therapies are out there to be discovered, to move our disease from terminal to chronic, to acknowledge our struggle with quality of life issues, to confront the truth that MBC is the Breast Cancer that kills and to bring more of us together in this community thereby strengthening our voices.

Q3. If you'd like to share, please tell us how it felt when you were diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

When I heard the words, Michael you are Stage IV, the first thought I had was that I was going to die and that I was going to die soon. I knew nothing about Metastatic Breast Cancer other than it was the breast cancer you did not want to progress to. I was scared, angry and lacking hope of living with this disease.

Q4. In a few words, can you please share with us your hopes for the future of metastatic breast cancer?

My hopes for the future of Metastatic Breast Cancer is that we can shift the thinking from awareness of breast cancer to research focusing on Metastatic Breast Cancer. I hope to see where MBC is classified as a chronic disease, where quality of life is of importance and that funding for research reaches the level of 30% or more so that we can understand and control how the cancer spreads to other parts of our bodies. It is also a hope that oncologists, researchers, physicians, organizations and others speaking about this disease focus on our Breast Cancer language. A focus where our BC language includes the word "men" so that our conversations acknowledge that men get breast cancer and men get Metastatic Breast Cancer.

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