LEVITTOWN, Nassau County (WABC) -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while it's important to report on progress, we don't want to ignore the struggle.
Patients living with metastatic breast cancer, meaning the cancer has spread beyond the breast, can sometimes feel ignored in this fight and their need for research is greater than ever.
No one wants to win more than metastatic breast cancer survivor Adina Perullo, but it's hard when cancer moves the goal.
"It's a tough battle, because every day, you're thinking, 'Am I going to see my children grow up?'" Perullo said.
Just one year ago, Perullo thought her journey was nearly over. It was shiny pink shoes and high fives as Eyewitness News joined her for the kickoff of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
She thought she had beaten stage 2 breast cancer, but by December of last year...
"My cancer had metastasized or spread to my liver so now I'm considered stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, which is incurable, terminal," Perullo said.
Perullo is only 37 years old and she wants people to know that sometimes breast cancer, even in the most proactive patients, can come back with a vengeance.
And it's not always pretty as pink.
"Statistically, the women who are stage 4 only live between three to five years because the medicines, they run out, the cancer outsmarts it," Perullo said.
What it's really about at stage 4 is managing the cancer as best as you can.
Perullo explained how she's not sure how many medications there are for her cancer, not more than 10, and she's already on the second.
"It's really hard to stay in the moment because, I live my life in three-month spans," Perullo said. "Every three months I have to get a scan. So I make it about 8 to 12 weeks before I start panicking, and the 'scanxiety' kicks in."
She urges people not to simply think "pink" this month and instead take charge of where your money is going -- metastatic patients need it.
"Underfunded, under-covered, there's no attention towards it," Perullo said.
For patients like her, research is the best hope against a relentless opponent.
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