When 29-year-old Stephanie Lester was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, one of the questions that ran through her mind was "Lord, why me?"
Stephanie says, “At one point and time I didn't think I was going to make it, with me being so young. It was a devastating time in my life, so I needed someone and some answers.”
Answers to questions like “how to tell her family” and “what causes cancer?”
Lester says a burden was lifted after visiting the Care Center, a place full of resources on specific cancers. One of the goals for the Care Center is to inform cancer patients in Grady County, which is one of three counties in the state of Georgia with a mortality rate for breast cancer higher than the state average.
Cathy Rieger says, "We'd like to reduce the rate of cancer. We have a program where we go to the high school and talk to senior girls so that when they get my age they know exactly what they need at what age, at 50 a colonoscopy, at 40 regular mammograms."
On October 13 Lester will be a one-year breast cancer survivor. Now she understands the "why her".
Lester says, "Maybe he did it for a reason, maybe I'm a testimony for someone else."
With her knowledge about cancer and prevention, she'll share her story to help fight the disease.
Facts About Breast Cancer
- The risk that a woman will get breast cancer increases with age until it reaches one in nine among women aged 85 and older.
- Breast cancer is caused by several environmental and genetic factors.
- There is medical evidence of an inherited tendency to develop the disease, but this accounts for only a small percentage of cases.
Alternate Forms of Breast Cancer Treatment
- There are many ways to treat breast cancer, and these are the four main types:
- radiation therapy
- hormone therapy
- Most patients with breast cancer have surgery to remove the cancer from the breast. Usually, some of the lymph nodes under the arm are also taken out and looked at under a microscope to see if there are any cancer cells.
- There are many different kinds of operations used; lumpectomy, partial or segmental masectomy, total or simple masectomy, modified radical masectomy and radical masectomy.
- Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
- Radiation therapy may come from a machine outside the body (external radiation therapy), or from putting materials that produce radiation through thin plastic tubes into the area where the cancer cells are found (internal radiation therapy).
- Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells, and is called a systemic treatment because the drugs enter the bloodstream, travel through the body, and can kill cancer cells outside the breast area.
- Chemotherapy may be taken by mouth or it may be put into the body by inserting a needle into a vein or muscle.
- Biological therapy tries to get the body to fight cancer. It uses materials made by the body or made in a laboratory to boost, direct, or restore the body's natural defenses against disease.
- Biological therapy such as bone marrow transplantation, and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation are being tested in clinical trials.
Source: http://www.meds.com/pdq/breast_pat.html (National Cancer Institute Web Site)