I Don’t Have Time for Cancer: Peggie’s Story

I Don’t Have Time for Cancer: Peggie’s Story

The beginning of my journey started with a regular annual female check-up and mammogram. There is nothing to worry about, just the annoying office visit. Frankly, I had put it off for the last three years because I had been too busy with a very demanding job. The funny thing about my work is that I put on day outings and overnight camps for women and children touched by cancer. At camp, the women would ask me, “When was the last time you had a mammogram?”

My answer was, “I just have not had time. Anyway, there is no breast cancer in my family. I’m in good shape. I gave birth at an early age, and I breastfed my children.” At my job, you get really close to the families. You can’t help it when you’re working with them during the worst days they will ever face. I would often come into the office to find a note on my desk that said something like this, “Miss Peggie, please call Sara. She is going to kill her husband and wants you to come and bury the body.” Well, that is another story altogether. The point is, after working with cancer survivors for years, I know cancer pretty well.

Let me get back to the day of my office visit. Before I left, the doctor who reads the mammograms came into the room. She said that she wanted me to go to the hospital to get a diagnostic mammogram. It is a more specialized mammogram. Two days later, I was at the

hospital again. I was thinking, “I do not have time for this. I have already wasted enough time this week on medical exams. I need to get back to the office.” Bottom line… I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR CANCER. Well, guess what? I had cancer, which was a type of breast cancer that would not have produced a lump.

I was like so many other women. We put off getting a mammogram that can save our life. Why do we do it? There are a variety of reasons. In my case, I didn’t think I had the time. Some women put it off because they have heard the mammogram is painful. Others are afraid of receiving a diagnosis of cancer.

diagnosis of cancer

Lesson 1: You and your life are important. You need to put yourself first and make time for a mammogram. Yes, there is some discomfort with a mammogram, but it is a small sacrifice to save your life. Finally, don’t avoid the diagnosis. The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the greater your opportunity for survival and less invasive treatments.

Here are a few facts to consider. In the year of this writing, the National Cancer Society predicts over 280,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Over 40,000 women die from breast cancer every year. Many of these women die unnecessarily.

Lesson 2: Early detection is your best opportunity for better outcomes. Today, most women who get their mammograms and get diagnosed early survive. An easy way to remember to make your mammogram appointment is to mark it on your calendar for your birthday. You cannot give yourself a better gift. So, the bottom line is GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM; IT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE.

breast cancer

This blog is published with the permission of Peggie Sherry, co-author of Breast Cancer, Tips and Tricks from Two Survivors.   To support their work, you can purchase a copy of their book here.  Proceeds from the book sales support Faces of Courage a cancer patient support non-profit organization dedicated to providing, free of charge, programs emphasizing practical education; life coping strategies; and improved self-esteem; through non-threatening, engaging, and recreational outings and overnight camps.

breast cancer


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Paoola Sefair
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