Eisai puts water-focused portraits at the center of new breast cancer initiative

This photo of Michael, who is living with MBC, is one of nine debuting this week as part of Eisai and METAvivor's #ThisIsMBC campaign. (Eisai)

A series of arresting photos of people with metastatic breast cancer—young and old, male and female—are at the heart of Eisai’s new initiative in its #ThisIsMBC campaign. Called the Elements Project, the nine portraits will be unveiled at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium this week. Throughout 2019, each individual story will be revealed one month at a time through one-on-one interviews and personal photographs under different themes such as spirit, courage, acceptance, hope and inspiration.

Each portrait also incorporates water, which is meant to symbolize MBC, Teresa Cronin, director of corporate advocacy at Eisai, said. Living with MBC is like water: it’s always there, she said.

“Living with MBC goes far beyond a simple diagnosis. Facing a terminal diagnosis is scary and life-shattering. Everything changes,” Cronin said in an email interview. “Our goal is to discuss and share some key issues about MBC that everyone should know—specifically addressing how it affects a person’s mind, body, and spirit.”

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Eisai’s project partner is METAvivor, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness of advanced breast cancer. The two have worked on MBC awareness and marketing projects since 2012. Beth Fairchild, president at METAvivor, is a tattoo artist living with MBC and has worked with Eisai on other campaigns, including the Serenity Project last year and the launch of the #ThisIsMBC campaign in 2016.

​​​RELATED: Halaven maker Eisai launches metastatic breast cancer story-sharing campaign

The campaign will run on social media throughout 2019 and includes asking people living with MBC to share their stories based on the theme of the month with the hashtag #ThisIsMBC. The effort is about more than just awareness, however, Cronin pointed out.

“The more we work together to raise awareness of MBC, the more donations we can raise for MBC research, which is so desperately needed,” Cronin said. “Eisai is committed to help raise awareness of this often misunderstood condition and support those who are living with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis.”

Eisai markets Halaven, approved in 2010 to treat MBC in people who have already had at least two chemotherapy treatments or those who have unresectable or metastatic liposarcoma and have received a prior anthracycline-containing regimen. At the San Antonio conference, Eisai will be presenting "the results of biomarker research from a phase 2 clinical study evaluating eribulin (Halaven) in combination with" Merck & Co.’s Keytruda for triple-negative metastatic breast cancer.