October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, created to help raise funding for research into cures, improved treatments, and better detection and prevention efforts. One way to raise awareness is for survivors to share their stories.
Erin Buss writes that her breast cancer risk was always top of mind for Dr. Allison Herman, who counseled genetic testing and breast self-exams
Dear Dr. Allison Herman,
It’s hard to believe that we first met 12 years ago when I was looking to establish care in Denver. At that first appointment, we spent a lot of time discussing my hereditary breast cancer risk, and at the time, you strongly encouraged me to consider genetic testing; I declined.
Year after year, we’d continue the discussion and finally 6 years ago when the testing became more affordable, I decided, why not. My panel came back negative showing no genetic mutations increasing my risk for breast cancer.
Despite this, you remained steadfast that we create a plan to start my breast imaging and surveillance earlier than the guidelines recommended. And, so I did at 38, almost 39, years old.
It wasn’t imaging that found my tumor … It was me. When I called your office with my concern, you immediately placed an order for a diagnostic mammogram; never questioning, and moving forward with the thought it is better to be safe than sorry.
Little did I know then how much this would impact my cancer journey.
You never said “you’re too young.”
You never said “let’s watch and wait.”
You never said “I’m sure it’s nothing.”
Instead, you said, “I’ve placed the order.”
And because of that I was diagnosed at Stage 2b… early with cure being the goal and eventually the outcome.
I haven’t given you the credit you deserve in saving my life.
Today, and every day, I’m grateful that our paths crossed all that time ago.