We are coming to the end of Black History Month and have one more breast cancer story to share for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s “Planting the S.E.E.D. to Health and History” campaign. Let us introduce Gloria Minus. After reading her story, please visit our website to download a free Family Health History Tree and learn about your family health history and risk factors that may affect you.
Pictured: Gloria and her daughter, Renee S. Ashe.
In January 2004 at age 55, Gloria was diagnosed with stage 1 ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer. In Stage 1 breast cancer, cancer is evident, but it is contained to only the area where the first abnormal cells began to develop. She had to have 2 lumpectomies to clear the margins.
Gloria worked for an ob-gyn practice through Christiana Care at the time of her diagnosis. She was (fortunately) diagnosed so early because she was on the cutting edge of breast cancer detection. Christiana Care had just gotten breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) technology and they were using it to watch something abnormal in Gloria’s left breast. For four years, Gloria had a breast MRI every 6 months for preventative measures.
In December 2003, Gloria went in for her routine MRI. In January, she was told that two areas on her right breast warranted a biopsy. One came back benign and the other came back malignant. She quickly went in for a lumpectomy in February and had to be treated with another one in March. After that, she received 33 radiation treatments and was placed on Tamoxifen. She had a bad reaction to the Tamoxifen (weight gain and trouble sleeping) so her oncologist later placed her on Arimidex. Since 2004, Gloria has been breast cancer free! But Gloria has a daughter who was diagnosed with breast cancer last July so she is now helping her daughter with the struggle she faced over a decade ago.
Gloria met the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition through the Breast Cancer Update held in Dover each April. As a survivor, she became interested in all the latest breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and information. She also became a mentor with the Coalition – becoming a one-on-one support system for a newly diagnosed patient and she enjoys helping others in this regard.
When asked about her message to other women for Black History Month, Gloria’s call to action is clear. “We always seem to take care of everybody else and we end up neglecting our own health.” This year, the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition encourages you to take Gloria’s advice and make your health a priority. Call the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition today at 1-888-672-9647 to schedule your mammogram. If you do not have insurance, if you do not have transportation, if you do not speak English, do not let that stop you. We will do everything we can to get you screened.