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‘No Longer a Disease for Our Moms and Grandmas’: Women on Early Breast Cancer


Bilateral mastectomies, six months of chemo and years of tamoxifen were my fate. After three and a half years, I am cancer-free.

I felt a little sorry for myself at being so young and having to deal with breast cancer. The hospital I went to for treatment asked for your birth date at check-in instead of your name. Each time, I noticed there were more and more women with birth dates in the 1980s. And one woman was born in 1991!

This is no longer a disease for our moms and grandmas.

— Kelly Fisher, New York City

I found a lump in my breast at age 42. It was invasive, so actually cancer.

Even then, I didn’t consider it all that life-altering to go through routine treatment. I quickly relegated the experience to the dustbin of my personal history once it was over.

When I was diagnosed with stage 4 — and a very bad stage 4, with both visceral and bone metastasis — less than 18 months later, now THAT was life altering.

— Esther Burns, Portland, Ore.

Even though I know the odds are in my favor; even though my mother, grandmother and mother-in-law have all had breast cancer and survived long term; even though I know that the most likely outcome next week is that I will be annoyed that I had to use my floating holiday for this diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound, I am terrified.

— Laura Turner, Schenectady, N.Y.

I thought if I ever had D.C.I.S., I would wait. But when faced with D.C.I.S., all I could think was, “Get it out, get it out, get it out.”


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