Several weeks ago Sarah Wenger of OnlineNursingPrograms.com sent me the graphic below on the ubiquitousness of breast cancer and some key statistics so I could post it on my site. And I didn't do it right away.
Sure, sure. I will get to it. I've been busy. You know, the usual stuff that relates in some form to what every other person on the planet deals with. For me I had to pack two sons for college, work, write, keep all the pins in the air, keep it all together.
Sarah reminded me yesterday that I haven't posted yet. And then it struck me how incredibly stupid and selfish it is that I didn't immediately get the word out about fighting breast cancer in a fresh, accessible and new way. With this graphic. Thank you, Sarah.
Close to a quarter of a million women receive a new diagnosis of breast cancer this year-- about 631 per day if you spread it out over the year. I know what that feels like--the panic, the disbelief, the fear. What will treatment be lilke? And how will I pay for it? Will I die?
So I should know better. I should have thanked Sarah, dropped everything I was doing and post. So today I am.
I am going in two weeks for my annual exam with my radiologist, then crossing the hall and seeing my surgeon. Both of them saved my life in 2006. Last year, Dr. Joan Werber congratulated me that at five years out from the disease, I am considered cured. Immediately after the surgery in 2006, Dr. Kambiz Dowlat smiled and told me I no longer had cancer. At the end of this year, I will stop taking Femara and will nolonger be on cancer meds, after 6 full years.
No one in my family had breast cancer. You just don't know why you get it. But 93 percent of the women-- and men-- who have breast cancer will survive if it is caught early enough. Only 15 percent of the women survive after breast cancer has become invasive.
Do the walks, the runs, wear the pink ribbons, buy the shirts, the jackets, the headbands, the wristbands, the flags, all of it. And tell your sisters, mom, stepmothers, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces, lovers, friends and coworkers-- hell, even tell the women next to you on the bus-- to get a mammogram every year. Because it could save her life. As it did mine.
If she can't afford it, pay for it, and have her barter with you-- maybe babysit or clean a closet in return. If she is afraid to go-- as was the nurse I saw at my last annual exam with my internist last week-- talk her into it. Make the appointment for her. Go with her if you need to. Hold her hand in the waiting room.
Because cancer is not too busy to come into the lives of 230,480 women a year. Don't you be too busy to do what you can to help save a life. A mammogram saved my life. Tweet this graphic, post it on your Facebook page, send it to every woman you know.
As Sarah says, "Fight breast cancer before it starts." Because all of us lead lives worth saving. I have time for that.