How do you carry on when you’re told you have a disease that has no cure? That’s the question former America’s Next Top Model contestant Jael Strauss is currently facing. Strauss recently announced she is facing incurable stage 4 breast cancer. Stage 4, or metastatic breast cancer, is the most advanced form of breast cancer. The 5-year survival rate for people with stage 4 disease is only 22%, according to the American Cancer Society.
Still, even though the disease is “incurable,” there are so many treatment options available for people with breast cancer today. Strauss, who is only 34 and appeared on ANTM in 2007, wrote an emotional Facebook post where she detailed the specifics of her disease.
“On October 2nd I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer,” she wrote. “It has aggressively spread throughout my body and is incurable. With treatment it may prolong my life longer than the ‘few months’ doctors said I could make it.”
She concluded her post with “I don’t want to die.” Strauss has rapidly progressive metastatic inflammatory breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare and aggressive disease, which often causes the breast to look swollen and inflamed because cancer cells block lymph vessels in the breast skin, according to the National Cancer Institute. Strauss has started chemotherapy, according to a GoFundMe page created by her friends, but how her treatment will play out beyond that has yet to be determined.
Since she announced she has cancer, Strauss has been really open with friends and fans on social media about facing a sudden, and daunting diagnosis. “I exist closer to death than I have ever been, and I am scared,” she wrote in an Instagram caption on Oct. 10. “I really need your help – donations, kind words or support and prayers are completely welcome and absolutely needed.”