‘If you want to meet a really inspiring person, that’s Kate’: Mother fighting stage 4 metastatic breast cancer focuses on cure

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CLEVELAND, Ohio - A breast cancer diagnosis is a terrifying one.

But the initial lump is not what's killing thousands of patients every year.

It is when the tumor metasticizes, spreads to other parts of the body, that it kills.

Fox 8's Stacey Frey first introduced us to Kate Watson in May.

She belongs to a support group of women all living with metastatic breast cancer.

To see her is to think she's living a completely normal life; out walking the dog, coloring and cutting up apples with her two young daughters.

But looks are deceiving.

Three years ago, doctor discovered that the back pain Kate had been feeling wasn't from carrying her daughters around.

It was breast cancer which had spread to her bones. Stage 4.

Kate says, "My mind was just blown. I don't have a family history. I was only 35. So breast cancer wasn't supposed to be on my radar."

Since then, Kate not only has tolerated treatment, she's thriving.

"I'm the healthiest looking metastatic breast cancer patient you'll probably come across!"

Kate goes to the Cleveland Clinic every three weeks for cancer treatments.

She's been doing it since March 2016, and she'll probably be doing it for the rest of her life.

As Kate explains, her specific, targeted treatment is working.

"Outside of having to come here as often as I do, I can be a regular mom at home but not everybody's that lucky."

She has watched as other members of the MBC support group she belongs succumb to the disease after chemotherapy stops working.

"The two people that I might that introduced me to this group, a year later were no longer here," Kate told us in May.

That's the fear of course, that the treatments will stop working, that the cancer will continue to spread.

Dr. Jame Abraham is the head of hematology and oncology at the Cleveland Clinic.

He says of Kate, "She's really amazing. If you want to meet a really inspiring person, that's Kate."

Dr. Abraham explains, there is a small subset of stage 4 patients who can be cured, or nearly so.

Kate is one of those patients.

"We are treating it. She's in complete response. She has no evidence of cancer now."

The hope is that with enough research and the development of new drugs and treatments, metastatic breast cancer will no longer be a terminal disease, but a manageable condition like hypertension or rheumatoid arthritis.

As Dr. Abraham puts it, "We are not going to cure that. They are going to have that condition forever. But we treat that."

Kate says she no longer lingers on the milestones she feared she'd never see, like watching her daughters go off to kindergarten or walking down the aisle.

She's learned to turn her attention to a larger mission.

"People with living with metastatic breast cancer don't die because they weren't strong enough for the so-called battle. They died because we don't have a cure."

Through the non-profit, Metavivor, those cures might someday become reality.

As it stands, nearly ninety-five percent of funds raised are spent on awareness and early detection, both of which are important.

However, MBC is killing thousands every year and very little money is spent on finding cures for it.

That's why Metavivor donates 100 percent of the money it raises to finding cures for metastatic breast cancer.

More information here.

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