It’s time. For decades, we have been trying to make meaningful progress and I’m getting impatient!
I am five years post treatment for invasive lobular breast cancer. Caught early, it was still invasive. Thus, my treatment included surgery (surgeries, to be accurate), chemotherapy and hormone suppressants. I was not alone in my breast cancer journey, as my mom was a breast cancer patient in 1987 and then again in 2007. Then, after my youngest sister was diagnosed with the same disease, I realized I could no longer sit on the sidelines.
I began to look more closely at these “tremendous advances” that had been made in the treatment of breast cancer. My treatment was almost identical to my mom’s. Lots of time had passed and it didn’t seem like much had changed. Surgical techniques are better, but it’s still surgery. Administering chemotherapy may have become gentler but it’s still infusing toxins into the body.
Wasn’t anyone moving along a different path? I had come to a point in my own life where it was time for a course correction and a volunteer role seemed to be a good place to start. Although I was already a member of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Love/Avon Army of Women at this time, I saw they also had volunteer opportunities. After one phone call with their Community Engagement team, I was hooked.
Not only did I already believe the Army of Women was a way of fast tracking research by helping to fill studies far more quickly than ever before, I learned that Dr. Love was conducting her own cutting edge research and funding the research of other like-minded scientists through the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. It’s less about finding ways to kill cancer cells and more about prevention. It’s understanding why some cells go rogue. It may be beautiful in Mr. Roger’s neighborhood, but in a cancerous breast? We need to understand more about the neighborhoods in which these bad cells are thriving.
I get it. In order to solve a problem, first we must understand the problem. If we can figure out the cause, we can work toward a different goal: stopping breast cancer before it starts. That is the goal of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and Dr. Love has made this her life’s work. The Health of Women Study, which was launched in October of this year, is going to shake things up. The answers are in our bodies and our participation in breast cancer research will provide researchers with a road map I believe common threads will begin to emerge as our de-identified data is analyzed. It’s a way each of us can play our part in making breast cancer history.
My mom stood in the doctor’s office as I was seated on an exam table in July of 2006. When those dreaded words sucked the oxygen from the room, I know my mom was more devastated than me. I have a daughter. I never EVER want to be in my mom’s shoes and have this same experience repeated with the next generation.
I am determined to play a part in supporting anyone whose goal is to find a way to end breast cancer. Complete eradication must be the end goal.
Breast cancer has stolen too much from too many for too long. It’s time to raise the stakes. Me? I’m all in.
Please join me and make a donation TODAY to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and support the innovative research that will get us closer to understanding the cause(s) of breast cancer and ways to prevent it.