Connect MBC Network: A new peer-to-peer support network for women living with advanced/metastatic breast cancer

We are delighted to announce the launch of Connect MBC Network  –  a new peer-to-peer community for women living with advanced or metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

The launch will take place at locations in the midlands, midwest and southwest between Friday 22 July and Saturday 23 July.

The free events, which are hosted by Europa Donna Ireland with the support of Pfizer Healthcare, are open to those with advanced/metastatic breast cancer and to members of their family and friends. The meetings will take place in Moneygall, Limerick and Tralee (further details below).

Please note that spaces are limited and registration is required, either by emailing info@europadonnaireland.ie or phoning 01 496 0198.

Widespread misconceptions

According to Tara Byrne of Europa Donna Ireland, MBC is increasingly being seen by the medical profession as a chronic disease: “As many as 1,500 to 2,000 people in Ireland are living with metastatic breast cancer at any one time. But, despite these figures, there continues to be widespread misconceptions and misunderstandings about the disease.

“The experiences and the knowledge of those living with this incurable disease are rarely spoken about. This is a situation that compounds the sense of isolation and hopelessness felt by many. ‘Connect MBC Network’ builds a safe online community where people with advanced/metastatic  breast cancer can connect with each other to find support, share experiences and learn more about their disease.”

Lack of support for women living with MBC

According to recent research by the European School of Oncology and Pfizer Healthcare, the lack of support for those with advanced/metastatic breast cancer is not unique to Ireland but, according to Ms. Byrne, it is a situation that is troubling.

Evelyn Forde Wakefield, a young woman from Offaly who was diagnosed with advanced/ metastatic breast cancer two years ago, agrees. “I have spent the 23 months since diagnosis searching for good support and proper clear information on MBC. I have traveled as far as Boston to get some help,”she says.

According to the National Cancer Registry in Ireland there are approximately 2,800 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed per year. Despite considerable advances in the treatment of breast cancer, approximately 30% of those initially diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will eventually develop recurrent advanced or metastatic disease. Medical science doesn’t currently know the exact mechanism through which breast cancer cells migrate to other organs in the body.

A real need for a specific support network

“I think that there’s often a tendency for those with an advanced/metastatic diagnosis to withdraw from others. They don’t want to frighten other breast cancer survivors with their diagnosis and with the realities of living with an incurable cancer. It may seem ridiculous, but there’s also often a real sense of failure, of having let people down by not ‘beating’ breast cancer,’ says Rhona Nally, who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2004.

“For those with metastatic breast cancer, there is a real need for a specific support network where they can find the support they need, share their experiences and learn more about advanced/ metastatic breast cancer.”


To find out more about the ‘Connect MBC Network’ and to secure your place at the free event, please email info@europadonnaireland.ie or ring 01 496 0198.

 

EVENT DETAILS

Midlands: 

Friday 22 July, 10am - 12pm at Barack Obama Plaza, Moneygall, Co Offaly

Midwest:

Friday 22 July, 3pm - 5pm at The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland Street, Limerick

Southwest:

Saturday 23 July, 10am - 12pm at 'Il Forno' Restaurant, Courthouse Lane, Tralee, Co Kerry

 

The launch events are informal with a comfortable atmosphere in which women can meet one another and chat about issues relevant to them.

The Europa Donna Ireland team will share and discuss:
  • interesting findings from new global research on the status of advanced/metastatic breast cancer
  • a new secret Facebook group for the Connect MBC Network
  • an upcoming initiative by Pfizer called 'A Story Half Told' which aims to dispel the myths of advanced/metastatic breast cancer.

Help us build the Connect MBC Network

Download our poster and press release.

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Volunteer! We are always looking for volunteers, especially 'on the ground' around the country. Please get in touch; we would love to hear from you.