For the past several years, Fat Quarter Shop has hosted a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I love that we can rally to support women who have been affected by this awful disease and help bring awareness to catching cancer before it’s too late.
As a project manager and social media team member, I’m always part of the planning for this campaign, but this year’s post is personal because I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m Kate Shaw, and I want to share my story with you.
Earlier this year, I went for my annual mammogram. While it’s not my favorite thing to do, I know it’s important.
The mammogram was followed by an ultrasound, which my doctor ordered for me because I’m one of nearly 50% of women over the age of 40 who have dense breast tissue.
My mammogram came back clear, but the ultrasound showed some “concerning spots”. It was hard news to hear. After more tests, the doctor took a biopsy, and I waited for the results.
About a week later, I got a phone call. It was cancer. The woman on the phone advised me to find a breast surgeon right away, and by the end of the week I was in a doctor’s office learning about my treatment options.
The diagnosis came as a big surprise since I am relatively young, healthy, and I don’t have any close relatives with breast cancer. What I didn’t know then was that having dense breast tissue puts a person at a much higher risk for cancer and makes it unlikely that cancer will show up on a mammogram. They say it’s like “searching for a snowball in a snowstorm,” as a way to explain how cancer can be hard to find. I thank my lucky stars that my doctor ordered an ultrasound, or I might still not know….
Early Detection is Key
Thanks to early detection and the life-saving ultrasound, my prognosis is very good! I have a solid treatment plan from my team of oncology doctors, and I’m on my way to better health. I’ve had surgery to remove the tumor, and my next steps are radiation, medication, and surveillance.
Take Action for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Learn about your health and take charge because nobody else can do it for you. It’s recommended to start mammogram screenings at age 40, and talk to your doctor before then to find out if you have other risk factors.
If you have recently been diagnosed, please reach out for support. In my experience, nobody gets you like a support group of fellow breast cancer patients and survivors.
Supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation
Please join Fat Quarter Shop in raising funds for the NBCF, whose mission is to provide this help and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer. Now, through Tuesday, October 31, 2023, we encourage you to donate. Together, we can reach our goal of $10,000 to help women at every step of the breast cancer journey. Fat Quarter Shop will match up to $5,000 of the donations raised.
I hope by sharing my experience that I can help others be proactive in detecting cancer when it’s easiest to treat. If you find this post enlightening, please share it with a friend so we can help spread the word!
A new FDA regulation announced this year increases the reporting and oversight on dense breast screening for mammography providers. Katie Couric explores this new life-saving development with Dr. Hillary Marston in this video.