Two of my dearest friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past three months. Both have children, both have husbands, both have demanding jobs, and both are grateful they have health insurance to help them get the life-saving care they need at this very difficult time. Their breast cancers and treatments however, are very different.
One friend is going through chemo, will then have a lumpectomy and radiation, which doctors believe will leave her cancer-free. The other friend has three family members who are breast cancer survivors, so she has opted to be tested for the breast cancer gene. Her treatment will depend upon the results of that test. If she tests positive, she plans to have a double mastectomy so she has the best chance of the cancer not returning. If she does not test positive for the gene, she will consider other treatment options.
The fact is, the majority of women survive breast cancer because of the amazing treatment options that are available to them. Diagnostic equipment is getting better all the time, chemotherapy protocols aren’t as debilitating as they once were, new drugs can target breast cancer cells and block them from invading healthy cells. The treatment options available to breast cancer patients are truly amazing, thanks to breakthrough research that has been happening over the past few years, and continues at this very minute.
At research labs all over the country, doctors and scientists are feverishly working on new drugs to find a cure for breast cancer. We’re not at the cure stage yet, but there have been remarkable breakthroughs in the past 10 years that are keeping women alive—and giving them hope—until a cure is found. Researchers are also working on new equipment to treat and diagnose breast cancer.
YOU have been part of this amazing process. Every time you run or walk in a NW Ohio Komen Race for the Cure event, you are contributing to finding a cure! Twenty-five percent of the money raised through NW Ohio Komen goes directly to research and I’m proud to say that nearly every major breakthrough in breast cancer research has been funded by dollars from Komen for the Cure. The other 75% of your money helps women right here in our community, funding mammograms and other diagnostic tests for women who are uninsured or underinsured. Many of those women are getting the best diagnostic care and treatment available in our area at the Breast Care Center at ProMedica Toledo Hospital and ProMedica Cancer Institute through local Komen for the Cure grant dollars. Did you know ProMedica was the first facility in the state with a dedicated breast MRI? Did you know the community relations department at ProMedica Flower Hospital helped start the Race for the Cure in Toledo way back in 1994?
Now is the time to register for the Race for the Cure! The Findlay Race for the Cure is on Saturday, September 27 in downtown Findlay. The NW Ohio Race for the Cure is Sunday, September 28th in downtown Toledo. Once again this year, I am the Honorary Chair of both races and will look forward to seeing you in either city that weekend! Sign up online at www.komennwohio.org.
This year, I’m stepping up in celebration of my two friends LuAnn and Lisa, as they continue through their treatment journeys.
Who will you race for?
Chrys Peterson is a spokeswoman for ProMedica Cancer Institute’s Friends for Life online community. To learn more about Friends for Life or to enroll in our monthly newsletter, please visit http://www.promedica.org/friendsforlife.