Background on my journey:
- First diagnosed in 1986 at age 34. I found the lump in a self-breast exam.
- Second diagnosed in 1997 at age 45.
- I refuse to be called a survivor. Instead, I refer to myself as a thriver.
- I was Ms. January in a Pink Warrior calendar in 2012 that raised funds for breast biopsies in Marquette, Mich.
Best way to help someone facing a cancer diagnosis:
- First and foremost, listen to them
- Second, don't share horror stories about yourself or others who have had negative outcomes with their breast cancer journey
- Provide nonjudgmental, unconditional support and love
How did I stay strong?
- Focus on all the positives in my life
- Make plans for the future
- Have fun and laugh a lot
What helped me through my journey?
- Accepting love and support from family and friends
- Eating the right things
- Getting enough sleep
- Being an equal opportunity healer by using traditional and integrative medicine
Credit: Chad Baker
DON’T FORGET THE MEN
Name: William Sykes
Background on my journey: A nine-year survivor of male breast cancer.
Advice: "If the goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to educate the public about breast cancer, men need to be included in that effort. I can tell you that a man experiences the same feelings of hopelessness when the doctor announces this diagnosis just the same as women. Fortunately, mine was caught early and I was referred to the Magee Breast Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. for treatment. ( I lived near there when I was diagnosed). All men and their families need to know that while men get this disease at a far lower rate than women, the results can be devastating without early diagnosis. Any man who has a first-degree relative that has breast cancer needs to be alert to the signs of breast cancer.