It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
One in eight women is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Corinne Roos did not think she would be the one.
It came just one day after losing her 13-year old German Shepherd – the call from her family doctor that would change Corinne’s life. She had breast cancer. “It’s hard to describe what it’s like to hear those words – my thoughts were a bit all over the place,” says Corinne. “I was shocked; I didn’t know what to say.”
Corinne is an athlete. Her passion is road cycling, a sport in which she claimed the Provincial Championship in the Masters category in 2006. In sport, Corinne had never accepted defeat, and she was not about to start with this diagnosis.
What followed was a barrage of testing and uncertainty. Corinne met with one of five specially trained breast surgeons at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) who presented options and addressed Corinne’s fears. Corinne decided to have a full mastectomy and was booked for surgery at STEGH within one month of her diagnosis. Corinne was able to complete all of the testing leading up to her surgery in St. Thomas, including blood work, chest x-ray, bone scan, abdominal ultrasound, and ultimately, the surgery. “It was a blessing to be in St. Thomas, where I am familiar with the hospital and surrounded by my family and friends for support,” says Corinne. “We are lucky to have access to a community hospital with highly skilled staff who pride themselves on delivering compassionate care.”
Corinne’s surgery was a success, and aside from several weeks of post-operative fatigue, her recovery went well. Corinne credits mammography and early detection as being key to her survival. “The Ontario Breast Screening Program provided the resources and supports that allowed my cancer to be diagnosed at stage one, when it was small and easier to treat,” says Corinne. She did not need additional treatment following the surgery, but was prepared to have chemotherapy at STEGH had it been required.
Unfortunately, Corinne’s experience is one of which many women can relate to. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women and the second leading cause of death from cancer.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportune time to remind women between the ages of 50 and 74 who are at average risk for developing breast cancer, to be screened every two years with mammography. Women ages 30 to 69 who feel they may be at high risk of developing breast cancer should speak to their doctor about their screening options.
Corinne is now able to add breast cancer survivor to her list of accolades. Cancer may have been one of the most significant challenges of her life, but Corinne did not back down. When asked if she has any advice for other women with breast cancer, Corinne offers, “Look at yourself in the mirror. Be proud of your incision and what you have overcome.”
Book a Mammogram
Women over the age of 50 do not need a doctor’s referral to schedule a mammogram. Call the OBSP directly at 1-800-668-9304 or visit https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/types-of-cancer/breast-cancer/screening.