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Despite advances in early detection and post-surgical treatment protocols, the percentage of women who die of breast cancer (33%) has remained unchanged for nearly 50 years. Women (and some men) are living much longer after being diagnosed, although some pay a very high price in the after-life of their treatments (side effects that don’t go away).

I had radiation after my first breast cancer, which was 11 years ago. I still get hit with waves of fatigue, sometimes so powerful I can’t stand up. It’s hard to find information like this in an oncologist’s office. As life preserving as chemotherapy and radiation can be, it’s nasty stuff. In general, the treatments are more effective the younger you are, although there will always be exceptions. I’m 63 and have opted to deal with my third breast cancer without traditional treatments. In the simplest terms, I’ve chosen quality of life over quantity.

This, then, is a journal through the experience, as well as an effort to provide information to women who want to know more about breast cancer. There are upsides and downsides. If you’ve recently been diagnosed, don’t panic. Chances are very good that you’re going to be just fine.

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