This is a reposting of last year's observation of Breast Cancer Month. The fight continues with the efforts of those who contribute to the cause and research this deadly disease. It is reassuring that significant advances continue to emerge in treating it, which should embolden all of us. "Survivors" or those who are "living with the disease", however you want to frame it have increased in numbers over the years. As a survivor I can't stress enough the importance of self-exams and mammograms. Early detection is the key and those who have the most deadly tumors under the umbrella of breast cancer would benefit the most.
It's that time of year again. It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month with all the commercials, ads and product endorsements with that pink bow of hope, and substantial checks written for this worthy cause. I posted an entry on October, 2009 entitled "A Global Fight for our Lives" in which I featured not only domestic efforts to get women galvanized to take charge of their health, but also women around the world; especially those of color. Statistics still bear out that we are most likely to die from the disease due to advanced diagnosis of the illness when tested or we suffer from those rare aggressive forms, e.g., triple negative breast cancer.
In that post I also focused on Dawn Spencer, a career woman who had been diagnosed and treated for one of the more aggressive forms of breast cancer. She was an inspiration to me because she founded AugMeFoundation. This organization provided breast prosthesis for those women who couldn't afford them or had to settle for the ones that weren't comfortable or sized to provide a proper fit. She was also a motivational speaker on how to live and not die with this deadly disease. The above video is just one of her speeches regarding the coping skills that are necessary in working through this illness.
The stats haven't changed that much from those cited in the 2009 entry, however, advances in this field continue and many of the devastating surgeries and miserable side effects of adjuvant therapies have diminished. Women who cannot benefit from reconstructive surgery or choose not to undergo the painful process of doing so have been helped by this organization. The latter has an advocacy role and lobbies for Medicaid and Medicare to provide services to help these women through the most trying of times. Self-image and esteem are battered and the support of loved ones and organizations to aid in the adjustment is crucial. She recognized this on a global level as well and worked with Dr. Lisa Newman, a Surgical Oncologist in providing services to The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana. This is the main teaching and referral institution for the eastern and northern regions.
This picture of Dawn and her daughter resonates with me as I think of her final transition on February 23, 2010 as well as one of her quotes.."It's not about how much time you have, it's about what you do with it". Dawn, I agree with you and the legions of other women who've refuse to become a victim of this disease.
I've provided the following links to organizations that will assist you or a loved one as you struggle to make sense of this illness and hopefully decide to live fully and without restrictions.