Cancer survivors offer inspiration

Saturday, October 19, 2019

In Friday’s edition, we featured women from our area who are battling or who have battled breast cancer.

No two stories are the same.

Retired teacher Laura Clark of Poplar Bluff said, “I always assumed since no one in my family had breast cancer, I wouldn’t have it. I was home free for almost eight decades.”

Leola Turner of Doniphan watched her mother go through treatment for both breast cancer and endometrial cancer, before she herself was diagnosed with both.

“Not only did my mother have cancer, but two of her sisters had breast cancer, and one had stomach cancer. On my dad’s side, six family members had cancer,” Turner said.

But they all found ways to stay strong in their own battles, whether through faith, family, humor or sheer determination.

“It will change your life, but it won’t destroy it,” said Patti Coleman of Poplar Bluff. “It will cause difficulties and discomfort for a while, but it won’t beat you.

“The fight itself will bring things out of you that you didn’t know were there — you will find yourself stronger.”

October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year. Only about 63,000 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the disease’s earliest form.

For women at an average risk, the American Cancer Society says those between the ages of 40-44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.

Women between 45-54 should have the test every year, and women 55 and older can choose to switch to every other year. Screenings are recommended starting at age 30 for those at high risk.

Dana Lovins of Dexter has inspired her daughter, Rebecca Robinson, to be proactive about her own need for screenings.

“I am very proud of Rebecca for taking charge of her health and her future,” Lovins said.

By sharing their stories, we hope that Lovins, Coleman, Clark and all of the women like them can offer similar inspiration.

More information about breast cancer trends, risk, detection and treatment can be found at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer

— Daily American Republic

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