October is recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual international health campaign is organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase the awareness of the disease while also raising funds whenever possible, and for the continued research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and ultimately finding a cure.
Premier Pharmacy Group honors all those women and men who have bravely battled a diagnosis of breast cancer during their lifetime, either directly or indirectly. And during this month we would like to especially honor and highlight Melissa Snyder, our dedicated Vice President of Business Development who is a very determined and passionate 5-year breast cancer survivor. Her survivorship has motivated Melissa to advocate and raise awareness for breast cancer education by encouraging women and men alike, to ensure they get their yearly health care screens, as early detection is always key.
Melissa was performing a routine self-examination when she discovered a painless lump in her breast. She immediately followed up with her primary care provider for advice. Melissa was referred to Invision Sally Jobe where she received her very first mammogram, just in her mid-thirties.
American Cancer Society suggests women should schedule annual breast cancer screening with mammograms, starting at the age 40-44, and every year after that through their mid-50’s. After age 55, mammograms can be scheduled every two years, but yearly screenings are strongly advised.
This is exactly what Melissa did. Her visit to Sally Jobe Invision was a very simple and painless screening, but ultimately confirmed that she did, indeed, have a mass. Melissa then went through a routine biopsy procedure where the results confirmed her worst fears, a diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) which is a very common form of breast cancer. According to John Hopkins Medicine, IDC represents 80 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses in the United States.
Melissa’s breast cancer diagnosis quickly placed her in a unique category of being in only 8 percent of the total population with this diagnosis because she was under the age of 40.
After careful review of all the facts post biopsy, Melissa met with multiple specialists to establish a plan of treatment. This was not an easy task for her, but Melissa ultimately had to make the difficult decision to go through with a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. In the long nine months ahead, Melissa’s medical team of professionals assisted her through the entire treatment process.
Despite the long road to recovery, Melissa met each day courageously throughout the entire ordeal, and attributes her 5-year success in survivorship to leading a much healthier lifestyle, to her daughter Isabella Iris-Marie who keeps her motivated to fight hard against the disease, and to her faith in God alone. She shares with us that she truly believes all things are possible to those who believe, no matter what set of circumstances may be or what the medical report might state. She inspires others facing unknown circumstances to never give up and never give in, as the human spirit is unbreakable and gives us hope to overcome, so much stronger than any evil that will ever come our way by disease.
Melissa’s takeaway from her experience is to ensure you take the time to love yourself in your day-to-day routines with a nutritious diet, plenty of rest, and a healthy work life balance. She emphasizes we all take a few moments out of our busy schedules to complete routine self-examinations in the comfort of our homes. Melissa encourages each person to follow up with their primary care provider immediately if anything unusual or abnormal is found. Early detection is vital as it saves lives and, we quote Melissa’s words, “You are worth it!”. And certainly, finally, to ensure you are completing your yearly recommended screenings with your doctor.
During the month of October 2021, anytime you see someone wearing a pink ribbon representing breast cancer awareness, remember you play a vital part in the health and wellness of not only yourself, but the people you love in the world around you. Screening saves lives. When detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 99%. Keep hoping, keep believing, and never, ever give up or give in—as together we can all make a difference in the health of our own bodies and in others. Get your pink on and get your screen(s) on!