Sarah McLean was only 26 years old when a self-control showed a lump which later was diagnosed as breast cancer.…
Sarah McLean was only 26 years old when a self-control showed a lump which later was diagnosed as breast cancer.
McLean was 19 years younger than the age that the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women begin to have mammograms, and the self-control she credits to save their lives is no longer recommended by ACS.
The two-time breast cancer survivor was at St Mary’s Women’s Imaging Center, 316 W. Garriott, on Friday, for Think Pink Luncheon, to raise awareness of breast cancer and encourage women to be proactive in their health.
Life Saving Advice
McLean said she and her husband had only been married in a year when she found the first lump in 2003. Subsequent diagnosis was subsequent radiation, hormone treatment, double mastectomy and multiple reconstructive surgery.
Although a double mastectomy had occurred, McLean suffered recurring breast cancer in 201
1. More treatments followed, and more s urinary care – she now has a total of 13 operations to remove cancerous tissue and reconstruct the affected areas.
McLean looks back on her experience with McLean and saves her life.
When she was 18 years old, McLean’s doctor recommended that she began regular breast self-test. She followed the advice and said that it was self-study that led to the discovery and treatment of her breast cancer.
Dr. Emily Cooper, MD, a family medicine doctor at St. Mary’s Physician Associates and Emcee of the “Think Pink” afternoon, said that McLean’s story underscores the importance of following the breast cancer screening guidelines, and for women to know their family history, be proactive about their health care and have an annual exam with his doctor.
Breast cancer research guidelines have changed in recent years, driving recommendations for mammograms in recent years, longer when McLean was diagnosed.
According to the ACS guidelines, all women should have annual mammograms at the age of 45, should have them available at the age of 40, if desired, and may change to have a mammogram every two years beginning at the age of 55. According to the ACS figures, less than Five percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer are younger than 40 years.
While McLean takes her breast exam to lead her to detect and successfully treat her cancer, new medical guidelines also lead women away from self-control.  Breast self-examinations, long basis of early detection recommendations for women, are now not recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and ACS.
ACOG changed the guidelines last summer, referring to stress on women of false positive breast tests.
“Self-examination of breast is not recommended in women with average risk,” said ACOG in a bulletin from July 2017, “because there is a risk of damage from false positive test results and a lack of proof of benefits.”
ACS changed Also, their recommendations for not recommending self-examinations and effectively reversing the course for many years of marketing campaigns that encourage women to do breast examinations.
Recommendations also became less clear for the physical breast exam conducted by a physician.
ACOG bulletin institutes in July 2017 find conflicting guidelines from ACOG, National Broadcasting Network, ACS and Task Force for Prevention Services in the United States on whether to perform clinical breast tests in women on average breast cancer risk.
Be Your Own Advocate
Contrary to changes and even contradictory recommendations on breast examinations, Cooper said it’s all the more important for women to take their ownership of their health and be engaged to their doctor. 19659002] “Feel your story, feel your body, have an open dialogue with your doctor and be proactive about your health,” says Cooper.
While ACS and ACOG may have c attached their breast test guidelines, McLean continues to recommend women to “feel their bodies.”
“It’s very important for you to know your own tissue,” says McLean, “and being your own advocate. “
Based on her experience of breast cancer, McLean 2007 was founded – between her two cases of breast cancer – Project 31, an ideal faith-based support group for breast cancer patients and survivors.
” Through emotional ups and downs in the treatment process we found only that there were not so many resources available, “McLean said.
She said support needed not only for breast cancer patients but for all people in their lives.” 19659002 “Cancer does not only affect the survivor,” said McLean. “It affects their partner and the whole family. It’s a ripple effect. “
McLean said her faith helped her through cancer treatments and led her to start Project 31 to help others.
She said she avoided support groups initially because” I had stereotyped support groups as a toxic environment of gloom and despair “, and she has worked to create an environment for” educating, equipping, and empowering women. “
Since 2007, project 31 has grown to attend 10 hospitals in Oklahoma City, Stillwater and Tulsa, with More than 800 women in support groups this year.
McLean said that all these women share an undesirable but undeniable band.
“It’s an unlikely sisterhood you would not sign up for,” she said, “but it’s definitely a common band once you’ve been there. “
For more information about Project 31, visit project31.com.