According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetimes. Many others will learn they carry the gene that can cause breast cancer, as actress Angelina Jolie shared recently.
Justine Avery Sands found out she carries the BRCA1 gene and took a serious step to lower her risk of developing breast cancer by undergoing a preventative double mastectomy. Diane Mapes' battle began with the actual diagnosis of an invasive type of breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Both women met their challenges head-on and even wrote about them in compelling prose. Justine and Diane joined Margaret in an open conversation about breast cancer - and how they hope their experiences can help others.
Diane and Justine say the following groups and organizations helped them:
Are You Dense (an organization dedicated to helping people with dense breast tissue navigate mammograms and other potentially life-saving tests)
#BCSM - The Intersection between Breast Cancer and Social Media (a group dedicated to bringing breast cancer conversations on Twitter together under one common hashtag)
F.O.R.C.E. - Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (an organization dedicated to helping improve the lives of people and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer)
The photo of Justine striking a boxing pose is courtesy of Sara Tro Photography
The boxing photo of Diane is courtesy of Jim Seida/NBC News and is part of an essay Diane wrote for Today.com entitled "Life in Limbo Land: Waiting to get booted from the cancer club"
The retro pinup photo and "I'm so Chemover This" party photo of Diane are courtesy of Lance Wagner of Old School Pinups
The photo of Diane wearing the Brava device is courtesy of Erin Lodi/Columns magazine and is part of an essay Diane wrote entitled "Reconstructing Hope"