Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Letters: 'EARLY' word on breast cancer - Opinion -
Sep 14, 2009 ...

I too was told I was too young for breast cancer, twice। But I knew I had it. I am a two time breast cancer survivor who was told both times that I was healthy and to go home. The first time, despite multiple healthy mammograms and blood tests, I managed to convince my doctor to perform surgery. Pathology reported that I had stage two aggressive breast cancer that had spread to a lymph node. The second time was five years later at a major cancer Institute. After four months of fighting for an MRI, I was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Like Ms. कर्म, both times I refused to be dismissed and became a “squeaky wheel. If I had not self advocated for tests and believed what my body was telling me over the medical tests and physicians, I believe I would be one of the 1,100 women described in the article who died after being told they were too young for breast cancer. (Breast Cancer Survivors Can Lift Weights.” Life Aug., 13).

Women are particularly in tuned with their bodies. It tells us when we are ovulating; experience PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), menstruation, pregnancy and “nesting” prior to child-birth. Therefore, we understand when our body is saying, “Go to the doctor.”
I applaud Maimah Karmo and Rep, Schultz for their work in Breast Cancer. We need more stories like “EARLY.” Teaching women to self advocate is as important as teaching doctors how to listen when they do.
Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos
Cape Cod, MA

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