Breast Cancer: There is Hope
It all started with a lump.
While performing a routine self breast exam, Heather Bagley’s mother experienced what every woman dreads. Finding a lump can terrify a woman for obvious reasons. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer for women. Prospects of surgery, radically altered body image, and changes in personal relationships can all be daunting. In part because of those fears, too many women don’t perform self-exams or get regular mammograms after age 40.
Unfortunately, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Health care specialists at Teton Radiology and Madison Memorial Hospital wish women would realize the magnitude of that mistake because it has a direct impact on survival rates.
Cancer survival rates are frequently measured in increments of five years. For example, an 80 percent 5-year survival rate would mean that five years after diagnosis, 80 out of 100 patients are still living. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer, when detected in its early stages, has over a 90 percent survival rate.
The high survival rates are hopeful, but that doesn’t make being diagnosed any simpler. And when a woman has breast cancer, everyone connected to her feels the jolt.
“I remember being stunned. We all were. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, am I going to lose my mom?’” Heather recalls. “I’m not even sure how routinely she had done self-examinations.” Heather’s mother was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer and has been courageously battling ever since.
Nearly three million American women are breast cancer survivors, and the survival rates have been climbing since the 1990s. Awareness and early detection are a critical part of that progress. Madison Memorial wants to contribute to that trend. Having recently partnered with Huntsman Cancer Institute, MMH is now positioned to provide women with excellent care and advanced resources.
Organizational Communication and Advocacy Major at BYU-Idaho