Christie Anderson | Global Markets - Cognitive & Data Leader, IBM; Athena TSIG Committee Member
Unexpectedly, I have two women in my life who have breast cancer. My friend Sarah was diagnosed with stage 3 aggressive on the week of her fiftieth birthday. She is currently undergoing a lumpectomy and chemotherapy and in the fight of her life. Then there is Mary. She is a six-year, recovered stage-2 breast cancer survivor. In May, she was surprisingly diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer with osteoblasts (breast cancer that metastasizes to the bones). For Mary, there is no cure for the disease, she is terminal. The only path forward is slowing the cancerous growth with hormone therapy, pain management, planning for palliative care and eventually hospice.
Today, 1:8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. If you are getting a mammogram today and reading this while you’re waiting in the lobby; just look for the woman who appears to be a deer stuck in headlights. Vacant, expressionless, hardly able to think. She’s the one who has been diagnosed today and her entire world has simply stopped. She may be sad, angry, fearful or in shock. The decisions she needs to make with her doctor must be informed and swift.
More than likely, you’re in the majority; a woman without breast cancer. Chances are you may never develop any signs, symptoms, find a lump in your breast, experience discharge, pain or have an abnormal mammogram. But the facts are that one million women every year will also undergo an unnecessary breast biopsy on a suspicious site. Incorrect, inadequate breast screening and false positivity happens every day and this should also give you pause.
That is why I have asked Athena to put together our first-ever program focused on Innovations in the Prevention & Detection of Breast Cancer; scheduled in October; which is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Through our vast Athena network; we have brought together doctors, geneticists, hormone therapists and advanced imaging technologists whom will discuss breast health. You will learn about the basic types of risk, steps you can take to lower your risk, new innovations that can prevent a mis-diagnosis and lower the need for unnecessary biopsies.
Please join us on October 14th at 5pm PST to learn from doctors at the forefront of this disease. It may be beneficial for you and someone you love facing the fight of their life.
“Gaining knowledge, is the first step to wisdom. Sharing it, is the first step to humanity.” –Unknown.