According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Currently, there are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
With those kinds of statistics, there is a high probability that someone you know or love, or maybe even yourself, has been or will be impacted by breast cancer. At ExamOne, there are many in our employee family who have experienced this impact first-hand. To help raise awareness, we are sharing some of those stories of their personal journeys and how others have stepped up to help.
Nothing prepares you for the diagnosis
Annette Mitchell, ExamOne’s Senior Vice President for Commercial, has held several roles within Quest Diagnostics including the National Sales Director of Molecular Oncology. With her extensive healthcare experience, she felt like she was well-educated and informed about breast cancer. She followed the appropriate mammogram timeline and screening guidelines. Her diligence resulted in finding a lump in 2019. In the process of evaluating that lump, it was ruled out as benign, but another mass was discovered, biopsied, and determined cancerous.
“My experience with molecular oncology gave me the knowledge to ask the right questions to my oncologist and surgeon. But when I was waiting for my genetic testing results that would determine the type of surgery I would have, I was just like any other patient. I nervously refreshed my MyQuest app hourly until my results came in. When no mutations were found, I was filled with relief. Then I could move forward in my breast cancer journey with a lumpectomy and subsequent radiation treatments,” said Annette.
There is a good probability that you or someone you know will be impacted by breast cancer: 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Three years ago, it was Annette. “It helps humanize the disease when you know someone who has battled it and won. So, I have been very open with friends, family, coworkers, and on social media about my diagnosis and treatments. I tell everyone to do their self-exams and don’t put off their mammograms!” said Annette.
Become familiar with the CDC’s breast cancer screening guidelines for women based on age and risk.
Making miles matter
After her mother-in-law died of breast cancer, Betsy Sears, Executive Vice President of Laboratory Strategy and Sales, committed to doing whatever she could to help raise money for breast cancer research and raise awareness about the disease that robbed her two sons of an adoring grandmother. Since 2005, Betsy has walked 1,000 miles at 16 Susan G. Komen 3-Day walks across the country. She has made those miles matter by raising more than $200,000 on her own and $575,000 total with her team.
“I keep walking because people I love and care about are still being diagnosed,” said Betsy.
Betsy urges women to do monthly self-exams and get regular health screenings. “The vast majority of happy-ending breast cancer cases are those that are detected early. Please get screened!” said Betsy. According to The John Hopkins Medical Center, 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.
Find out how to do monthly self-exams from National Breast Cancer Foundation here.
Always an advocate, now with more appreciation
Carla Wiseman, Strategic Account Executive, is an active member of our Quest local charity employee group, QuestCAN, and heads our community involvement activities for the Women in Leadership group. She has helped coordinate our American Cancer Society (ACS) Making Strides Against Breast Cancer sponsorships in Kansas City for the past 7 years. Her efforts became even more meaningful when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple years ago.
“I’ve always enjoyed giving back to ACS, but now I really know the importance of the programs and support ACS provides,” said Carla.
“My mom had a successful experience, and we are so thankful. But I know the fear and anxiety that her diagnosis caused. Thousands get that scary report every day. The more we can do to help make sure more people are screened and treated, the more moms, like mine, get to be here longer with their loved ones.”
Carla headed up our Making Strides walk team again in 2022, raising more than $6,000 from employee fundraising and corporate funds.