Breast cancer survivors share their stories
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and survivors are telling their stories in hopes of encouraging women to not only educate themselves but also take proactive measures.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women and the second leading cause of death.
Two survivors spoke about their struggles and triumphs, saying a diagnosis like that doesn’t have to be a death sentence.
Suzanne Creech is a wife, friend, a mother to her 3 daughters and was days away from her 49th birthday when got news that changed her life.
When she initially found out she had breast cancer, it was through a self-exam.
Creech’s mother passed two years prior from breast cancer so she made an appointment with her doctor and received the same diagnosis.
Creech decided that this wasn’t the end, and that she was going to give it all she had and fight the cancer that was in her breast and one of her lungs.
She says she had to show her daughters that even though she had cancer, cancer didn’t have her.
Creech ended up getting a double mastectomy, the right middle lobe of her lung removed, along with her ovaries and tubes because the cancer was estrogen related.
Because the cancer was caught in the early stages, Creech didn’t have to go through chemotherapy or radiation and almost a year later she’s cancer-free.
Richie Shreves is another breast cancer survivor and did go through chemo and radiation, ringing in her 50th birthday bald and in the hospital.
Shreves had to have a lumpectomy, 5 months of chemo, and 30 radiation treatments before she was cancer free.
Shreves will be 5 years cancer-free next August, hitting a huge milestone in her fight against cancer.
Now, both women use their stories to encourage other women to keep fighting.
They say the biggest piece of advice they have to give is for people, both men and women because men can get breast cancer too, to know and listen to your body if something seems off or different.
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and there are several types of breast cancer as well as symptoms to look out for.
They say there are several types of breast cancer and anticipate about 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year and that 43,600 women will die from breast cancer.
At this time there are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
The American Cancer Society says the most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass.
They say other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no lump is felt)
- Skin dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction
- Nipple or breast skin that is red, dry, flaking or thickened
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
- Swollen lymph nodes
For more information visit the American Cancer Society website.
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