Archive for Thursday, August 25, 2005

Luncheon informs women about life after breast cancer

August 25, 2005

A group of women wants to share the message that there is hope for those who have breast cancer.

The fifth annual Share the Hope luncheon will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2101 10th Avenue, Leavenworth.

Share the Hope was organized by three Lansing Intermediate School teachers to raise awareness and distribute information about breast cancer, organizer Debbie Ryan said.

"We wanted women who were suffering from this disease to know they're not alone," Ryan said. She said there was "tons and tons of information out there" about breast cancer, and "there's so much support."

The mission of the luncheon, Ryan said, is to disseminate information and let women share stories about their struggles with breast cancer. Four women who have had experiences with breast cancer will speak at the event, including Nancy Moran, who has been cancer-free for 16 years.

In September 1987, Moran went to her doctor for a check-up after she received a letter saying he would soon be retiring. At that checkup, her doctor found a "very tiny" lump in her breast and recommended she get a mammogram, Moran said. Though she said she never was able to feel the lump, she followed her doctor's orders. She had a biopsy done on the tissue and had to wait three months for the results.

"Those were the worst three months of my life," Moran said. "Not knowing is the worst."

By December 1987, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Moran said the road to get rid of the cancer took two years and included a lumpectomy, the removal of cancerous tissue from the breast, and eventually a mastectomy in July 1989.

The decision to get her breast removed was her own, Moran said, and she felt good about it because she had been informed of her options and was able to choose for herself. She said that her mother had gotten a mastectomy 40 years ago.

"She didn't regret it at all," Moran said.

Moran said she hadn't regretted her decision, either. She said she tried to maintain normalcy throughout her ordeal. At the time she was diagnosed, her two sons were in high school and involved in sports, Moran said. She said only missed one game for her initial biopsy.

"It does change your life, but it doesn't have to change the way you live," Moran said of the cancer.

Moran said she had been "amazed" at the progress made in diagnosing and treating breast cancer since her treatment. She said technology for mammograms was much better today, making the process less uncomfortable and creating a better picture. Lumpectomies are more common now, she said.

Additionally, Moran said breast reconstruction had come a long way, and prostheses were now lighter and cooler. Both help women look and feel better about themselves after dealing with breast cancer, she said.

Moran said she wanted women to know that having regular checkups, mammograms and self-breast exams were important to catch any signs of breast cancer, even for younger women. She said she would like to see insurance companies start covering mammograms for more women in their 20s and early 30s.

"It can be a lifesaver for some," she said.

Moran said it was also important that women know "you can still go on for a long time after breast cancer."

"Twenty years ago, many women looked at it as a death sentence, and it is not that at all," she said.

Other women who will speak at Saturday's luncheon are Jerry Stube, Alice Bushman and Bobbie Snyder. The lunch is open to the public, Ryan said, and door prizes will be awarded throughout the event.

Lunch will be donated by Mr. Goodcents Subs & Pastas. Reservations are $12 per person, and a T-shirt from the event costs $11. All proceeds will be donated to the local office of the American Cancer Society. To reserve a seat at the luncheon, call Ryan at 727-2428.


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