If Diagnosed With Breast Cancer, Don’t Let Worry Rule Your Decision

Just slightly over 12 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Having just turned 40, and then the mother of three children ages four, seven and 10, it would be an understatement to say this diagnosis rocked my world. At the time, I knew just a handful of women my age with breast cancer. Today, those numbers are swelling. And many, gripped with fear about the breast cancer returning, and eager to get it out of their body for good, are turning to radical treatment that, in many cases, won’t alter their survival rates. In an article I wrote for Glamour, I had the opportunity to delve into the reasons why many young women are opting for unilateral and bilateral mastectomies, removing their entire breast, when a less invasive lumpectomy followed by radiation would be just as effective. By speaking with women who chose this course and those who decided to get lumpectomies, I was able to better understand the factors motivating this very difficult, personal decision. In the end, every woman has to decide what’s best for her. There’s no doubt about it. Getting a breast cancer diagnosis is scary. But as we kick off breast cancer awareness month, I hope women will take the time to research the extensive studies and research on the most viable treatment options. I hope they’ll get a second opinion and connect with other breast cancer survivors to hear what worked for them, and what didn’t, so they’ll know all their possible options before heading into surgery. In tackling this disease, education is often the best weapon.

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2 thoughts on “If Diagnosed With Breast Cancer, Don’t Let Worry Rule Your Decision

  1. Dear Mrs. Halpert,
    Your Glamour article was helpful and had a very personal touch.

    My mother has breast cancer (in remission) and I feel fortunate to say that as she underwent the most trying portion of it she and I communicated well about what she was going through and what her choices/options were. As you say above “education is often the best weapon” and I agree. To that I would add that “communication is the best shield” – a shield against the fear, uncertainty, isolation, anxiety and depression that can be associated with a cancer diagnosis.

    Thank you for your articles and sharing your talent as a writer.
    Sincerely
    jim, NY

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