Living With the Pink Ribbon


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

A pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Ava Bromley, Senior Staff Writer

Breast Cancer is the second most common cancer found in women in the United States. Thirty percent or every 1 of 3 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that around 287,850 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed within the year of 2022. About 43,250 of those cases will die from breast cancer. In 1985, the month of October was established as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I am writing this article to bring more awareness to breast cancer as a whole.

 “More than 10 million Americans are living with cancer, and they demonstrate the ever-increasing possibility of living beyond cancer.” -Sheryl Crow. In order to bring awareness to breast cancer, I interviewed a local Crofton resident, and breast cancer survivor, Denise Edwards. I asked her questions about her timeline, when it started, how it felt when it finished, and how she felt about the whole experience. Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2007. She was working with her daughter at a local daycare center when she got the call.  She describes her initial reaction as “I was pretty shocked, but um, I continued to work. My family came up and I called my husband, but I stayed at work. Just because I figured it would be for my sanity, you know just to be at work with the babies.”

 Her chemo treatments started a couple weeks after. When asked to describe the routine of events they would have her do at the infusion center when getting chemo, Edwards stated that “First you would sit in the chair, and they would give you an antihistamine just to prevent you from having a reaction to the chemo.  I had a port in, so they set up an IV and just sat there for hours. It was scary but I felt pretty…tough inside, I just kind of thought “Okay I can do this.” I asked Denise how her chemo treatments affected her daily life. Chemo treatments have a range of time but they can take as long as 8 hours, that’s almost half of your day. Denise says that the appointments didn’t affect her daily life except for the days she wasn’t feeling very well. “I just laid around the house, wouldn’t do anything for a couple of days, and would try your best to get up and follow your daily routine, but you know.” Living with cancer can feel like a very negative thing. You deal with fatigue, nausea, hot flashes, body temperature changes, etc. I made sure to ask Denise how she kept positive while going through this experience. “I listened to music, and talked to my friends and family. I am very spiritual, so I just said a lot of prayers, and just did my best to keep positive. I still made sure I was going out with friends, and did my normal thing.” 

The time that people live with breast cancer is all different. There is a wide range. Some women fight longer, and some women fight shorter. Some people can live with cancer for 2 years, and some can live with cancer for 5 years. Denise’s last chemo treatment was December of 2007. Denise had an aggressive form of chemo in order to treat her cancer, so her treatment was only about 8 weeks. My last question I asked Denise was the question that was most important to me. I asked her how it felt to be a breast cancer survivor. “It feels awesome, but it is also very scary. Everytime you get a little pain or you go to have your yearly checkup with your breast doctor, you do worry and think, but after about a year or so  you kind of get over that worrying about everything and get back to just doing what you were doing and say a little prayer that it doesn’t ever come back.”

Breast cancer, whether it’s triple-negative or invasive ductal carcinoma, is something that is very real, and that people are dealing with everyday. Someone who you know like your neighbor or your friend’s mom or dad could be dealing with living with breast cancer. Over 3.8 million women and 2,710 men in the United States are diagnosed and living with breast cancer just in 2022. I wanted to write this article in October so that way I could shine light on breast cancer through my writing and bring awareness to people all around the world that are living with the ribbon.