October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month 

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY –    From wearing pink to making donations to simply supporting survivors and sufferers, there are many ways to commemorate Breast Awareness Month during the month of October. 

Breastcancer.org  lists several ways communities can mark the occasion:

Supporting people diagnosed with breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer 

Educating people about breast cancer risk factors stressing the importance of regular screening, starting at age 40 or an age that’s appropriate for your personal breast cancer risk

Fundraising for breast cancer research

The Messenger once again this year tries to do its part by reminding women to go for regular mammograms, check regularly and report anything suspicious to their doctors. You will find a special page in today’s paper where local businesses have shown their support for this important issue. 

Again, this year, The Messenger reached out to someone affected by this terrible disease, which is the world’s most prevalent cancer, with almost eight million women diagnosed in the last five years. This year alone, nearly 300,000 new cases were diagnosed. Even men over the course of their lifetimes have a one in 833 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Local businesswoman Nancy Lawrence is a survivor of breast cancer. Diagnosed ten years ago, her first reaction was one of fear of the unknown. 

“It’s really hard because you just don’t know what to think,” Lawrence remembered. “Everybody’s giving you an opinion on what to do, where to go, but you’ve got to figure it out yourself and see what works for you. You want recommendations. of course, but you have to pray about it.”

Lawrence’s daughter had a contact in the medical industry who offered to help and, in spite of the fear and uncertainty at the beginning, Lawrence’s doctor gave her hope, telling her, “Someday, you will look back on this as a bad dream.”

Local business woman Nancy Lawrence, a breast cancer survivor, talks about her struggle to fight the disease.

Lawrence suffered two years through the chemotherapy, trying to stay busy in spite of the pain and complications of the treatment. Though chemotherapy, radiation and six surgeries – Lawrence tried to never miss a beat and stay positive. 

“I hated it but God really blessed me,” Lawrence said. “I think the most important thing I can tell you is your mindset. I took chemo but I missed very little work. I had no hair and wore a baseball cap to show houses. I think the worst thing you can do is get on the couch because you don’t feel good from the chemo. You have to try and stay positive and just ‘keep on keepin’ on.’”

Lawrence mentioned the fact breast cancer can affect people of all ages, seemingly younger and younger as time goes on. She agreed catching the warning signs is the best way to have a better chance of fighting the disease. 

“Make sure you go to the doctor and schedule your mammograms – try to check yourself regularly,” Lawrence said. “I think it’s important to try to be healthy – cancer loves sugar and it’s hard to stay away from it. But it’s very important to try to live as healthy as you can.”

Lawrence said she is grateful she came through those tough times and said she knows who to thank. 

“I give it all to God – I just prayed about it and He brought me through. I try to reach out when people are diagnosed and help them stay positive,” Lawrence concluded. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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