When breast cancer is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are much better. Research shows that women who have regular mammograms are more likely to survive breast cancer. Early detection may also mean less treatment and less time spent recovering.
For many of us, mammograms are the last thing on our minds with the busy lives we live, but regular screening should really be front of mind when it comes to our health and living our lives to the fullest. Colleen was just 40 when she scheduled her first mammogram and early detection may have saved her life.
Here is her story:
“It’s an incredible honour to share my story for this campaign and I’m grateful for the women at Silver Icing for supporting this cause! Earlier this year, I turned 40 and I scheduled my first screening mammogram. A doctor had told me that I could wait until I was 50. She said I was healthy and had no risk factors for breast cancer. I felt no lump.
Fast forward 2 months to my screening mammogram. I received that dreaded call back. A day later, my heart raced and my stomach turned as I sat through a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound, which then led me to an appointment with my doctor, a breast biopsy, and a consult with a surgeon. I prayed it wouldn’t be. It couldn’t be…
Breast cancer. I was so healthy, no risk factors, but that doesn’t matter. The roller coaster began. Appointments, bloodwork, options for removal and treatment. Statistics about survival rate and recurrence. Before I could even begin to process this journey, I was booked and recovering from a single mastectomy, and awaiting results from pathology. I waited and I prayed – that God would be like a shield for me, protecting the rest of my body from my own deadly cells. Days passed, with each hour potentially flipping between gratitude and fear. Grateful for family, friends, neighbours and even strangers that walked along side, encouraging and showing huge love. For my kids who were so brave and my husband who stepped up to manage our family’s needs with such grace. For my doctors who made me feel calm, positive, and ready to fight cancer. I felt peaceful, as I experienced Gods presence and power in my life, but fearful, of a disease that could bring me face up to mortality.
I’m here to say the rest of my story is good, and that early detection saved me from having a tumour sit hidden on my chest wall to grow. My four lymph nodes removed were clear. It was an aggressive, small “estrogen receptor positive” tumour, with a low Oncotype Dx score (a score that ranks the cellular biology of the tumour). Chemotherapy was not recommended. My course would include surgery, reconstruction, and 5 or more years of hormone treatment to decrease recurrence. In a way I was “lucky”, but boy, I still feared those cancer cells. Could my body be well? Could my mind be well? I continued to get up each day, and do the things that made me well before cancer. I prayed against this fear. To be full of trust and joy for this day.
I tell my story to give women hope. To remind us to be on top of breast care. To know our breast tissue and to get a mammogram when it’s our time. To not be afraid if we enter into these stories. To keep our eyes up, and loved ones by our side.
Through this, I have learned to have hope in my journey, and to trust that God is good and merciful. To not take for granted this day, to be thankful for the gifts we’ve been given, and to make connections to other people in their journey. Everyone’s on one; everyone’s got a story.”
In support of women like Colleen, Silver Icing is raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society Breast Cancer Futures Fund. In an effort to support this very worthy cause, we are donating $10 from every Arabesque Bra sold throughout the month of October. With your help, we’d like to improve the quality of life for those living with breast cancer and create a future without this disease.