A Powerful Purpose
- Back in May, Kelly Crump, 38, posed for a full-page shoot in Sports Illustrated, exposing the mastectomy scar over her now nipple-free breast, empowering women all over the world as a metastatic breast survivor.
- Now, during breast cancer awareness month, the London-based health advocate is realistically opening up about her health journey, sharing how rewarding it is when women flood her inbox with praise and thanks for making them feel better about themselves.
Now, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the London-based health advocate is opening up about her journey from her diagnosis until now.Read More
Like many other women, she had no clue there were even different subtypes. Crump’s specific type is HER2+.
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“For a lot of people who I talk to, they feel like their body betrayed them. I never felt that,” the SI 2022 Swim Search model expressed, finally comfortable in her own skin after gaining perspective after cancer. “During cancer treatments nobody is noticing that you have stretch marks, cellulite, or how big your pores are,” she says.
Though she has zero regrets about her experience with Sports Illustrated, Crump does admit having a moment of self-doubt when she saw the picture they were going to use.
“I’m going to be honest,” Crump said, “the first thing I said was ‘F*ck. They used that photo.’”
She quickly shook it off. Millions of social media views later, the reward of seeing how much she is doing to lift other women up is priceless. “These messages and comments are what keep me going every day,” she says.
The model recently joked of her new role as a “cancer influencer.”
“When I grow up I wanna be…. an influencer… for Breast Cancer…said No One Ever! but here I am.
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When people ask her how she handles living with cancer, she doesn’t candy coat it.
“I cry. Daily,” she said with a laugh, adding that she doesn’t feel great when she wakes up, but she helps manage symptoms with meditation, exercise, and breathing.
Body Positivity and Cancer
Many cancer survivors go through their own journey with their body image after finishing treatment. This is especially true for women. It is hard to ignore the societal pressures surrounding women and their bodies. Other cancer survivors, like Ann Caruso and Kelly Crump, have struggled with the same kinds of self-doubt.
Ann Caruso spends her days helping celebrities with the way they look and dress. Her take on body image was rattled after a breast cancer diagnosis. Caruso had 12 surgeries to treat her breast cancer and told SurvivorNet that all of the change really affected the way she saw her body.
“You’re not the same carefree person that you once were, and it was very hard for me to look at myself every day,” Caruso said in a previous interview with SurvivorNet. “It was like I was a totally different person and didn’t fit into any of my clothes for so long.”
But the celebrity stylist has learned a whole lot about femininity and body image since beating breast cancer. She hopes to impart her knowledge upon others dealing with similar struggles.
“Femininity is a state of mind,” Caruso said. “And I think that’s something that we have to remind ourselves.”
Understanding Stage 4 Breast Cancer
Stage 4, or metastatic breast cancer, means that your cancer has now spread to distant areas of the body. Even though there is currently no cure for metastatic breast cancer, doctors have many options to treat this stage advanced stage of breast cancer.
Hormone therapy, chemotherapy and targeted drugs are all options to talk to her doctor about, depending on your individual needs. Sometimes surgery and/or radiation is considered as part of the treatment, but mainly it is important to focus on improving your quality of life.
The treatment plan for metastatic breast cancer patients depends on the specific needs of the woman, whether they need an aggressive chemotherapy or depending on the doctor’s assessment, they may benefit from another medication.
For hormone receptive positive cancer breast cancer patients, doctors try to see how long they can keep patients on oral therapies. Very often, newly diagnosed metastatic hormone receptive-positive breast cancers (where cells have either estrogen (ER) or progesterone (PR) receptors or both) respond best with different hormonal medications, and sometimes for many many years.
Dr. Erica Mayer, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, says clinical trials have shown that hormone medicines are more effective when paired with targeted therapies. At some point, chemotherapy will be introduced. And according to Dr. Mayer, it’s delivered at a dose and schedule that’s as well-tolerated as possible.
“We are so lucky in breast cancer that we have so many effective and well-tolerated treatments,” Dr. Mayer tells SurvivorNet. “I’m so gratified to see that patients are doing better and living longer today with metastatic breast cancer than they have ever done before.”
Bottom line, there are more and more options becoming available for patients to manage symptoms of advanced stage disease, and it’s best to talk about specific treatment plans and what is best for you with your own doctor.