Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we are taking a break from talking eyes to focus on this important cause. Almost everyone has been affected by this devastating illness at some point or another, whether it was your own diagnosis or that of a loved one. A member of our Coleman Eye Center family, Marie Haddon, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. Marie is sharing her story with all of us to help bring awareness to others.
I am a Survivor. My name is Marie. I am a Woman, a Wife, and a Mother. I’m a Sister, a Daughter, and a Best Friend. AND… I am a cancer Survivor.
According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. 1 in 8 women born in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. The risk increases with age. Statistically, only 1.55% of women in their 40’s are diagnosed with breast cancer. However, in January of 2017, at only 43 years old, I was diagnosed with the form of breast cancer known as Ductile Carcinoma in Situ, or DCIS.
Most recommendations advise women to begin having breast cancer screenings and regular mammogram checkups at age 40. However, due to an extensive history of breast cancer in my family, I began having those at an earlier age. DCIS is a form of breast cancer that is typically contained to the milk ducts inside the breast, but if left untreated, it can spread and lead to more invasive forms of cancer. Thankfully, I was on top of my yearly checkups! Early detection is key!!
I was devastated by my diagnosis. Aggressive forms of breast cancer have been prevalent with women in my mother’s family. My mother’s sister had passed away from breast cancer at a young age. Because of this and other risk factors, my doctor and I very quickly, and without hesitation, decided that a double mastectomy was the best course of action for me.
In February of 2017, I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, followed by radiation treatments. It was a long and difficult recovery. Today, five years later, I am CANCER FREE!!
I encourage all women, regardless of age, to do self-checks and be screened for breast and other types of cancer regularly. Begin having mammograms and checkups as early as possible. When detected early, most breast cancers tend localized to one location, and if treated before it has a chance to spread, the survival rate is 99%! Know your risks. Know the symptoms. Take steps to prevent and reduce your risk of developing cancer.
I am thankful for a good outcome from my breast cancer diagnosis. I hope my story inspires others to pursue preventative care and encourages anyone who may already be facing this terrible disease.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I am proud to say… I am a SURVIVOR!!