Definition of breast cancer
Cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women today (after lung cancer) and is the most common cancer among women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers.
Thanks to improvements in treatment and early detection, millions of women are surviving breast cancer today. Read these two stories of women who are breast cancer survivors.
My diagnosis came in the fall of 2007. I wasn’t totally surprised; I’ve had breast issues since the early nineteen eighties.
After a series of test that included, Mammograms, MRI, Wire-Lead Bioscopy, and Ultra-Sound I was diagnosed with DCIS stage zero. My first thought was zero…that’s a good number! I knew that the same God that has been with since I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior would be with me through this cancer issue.
I was scheduled for surgery a week after my diagnosis. The plan was to go in and remove the cancer, a mastectomy was discussed but I wanted that to be the last resort. My initial surgery did not yield a clean margin, meaning there was still cancer in my breast. I requested a second surgery, again no clean margin. I was sent to see a plastic surgeon and recommended for a mastectomy. After much prayer I accepted the fact that a mastectomy may be in my future. I knew that, “I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” All things included a mastectomy. Having accepted that, I still wanted my surgeon to attempt once more to remove the cancer without doing a mastectomy. This third surgery was more invasive than the past two. Alas, success was achieved in the form of a clean margin. Praise God!!!
My follow-up treatment consisted of six and a half weeks of radiation and five years of the drug tamoxifen. I am currently in my fourth year of the tamoxifen treatment and doing great.
My experience has doubled my determination to “hold to God’s unchanging hand.”
There are two important dates that have changed my life forever. On July 26, 1985 my brother was killed at the age of 19, and on July 26, 1999 I was diagnosed with Stage3 breast cancer. I would be living without one of my breast. I never imagined that when I went to the doctor he would inform me that I had breast cancer he said, “It will be a miracle if you live to see your 35th birthday.” Immediately, I thought about my mom since she already lost one child.
The conversation I had with my oncologist stayed hidden until 2002 when I shared my story at the Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk. My mom and sister, Barbara were my biggest supporters and my life was perfect until July 30, 2007. Barbara called me sobbing uncontrollably and I could not understand what she was saying so I told her that I would come to her home. When I arrived, I saw this blank expression on her face and I asked what was wrong. She said, “Promise me that you will take care of momma and D” (her son that has cerebral palsy) and I asked her where she was going. She looked me in the eye and said, Sharon, I went to the doctor today and he said that I have stage 4 breast cancer. I have two months to live.” I felt as though I could not breathe. I watched my sister experience the same thing I had eight years prior. However, no one could have prepared me for the outcome. My sister lived seven months after her diagnosis.
It has been 13 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have chosen to live my life as it is golden. I now live with one breast. My breast does not make me, I make my breast. I don’t seek sympathy, what I seek is prayer. Prayer is a powerful thing.
Whether you’re worried about developing breast cancer, making decisions about treatment, or trying to stay well after treatment, the Detailed Guide, Overview, and other materials available at cancer.org can provide you with information and tools needed.