Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness - Florence

October is both Family History Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month I will be writing about how breast cancer has affected my family. Please join me in raising breast cancer awareness by writing about how breast cancer has affected you and yours.

John lost his mother to breast cancer while he was still in high school and more than 40 years later her death is still hard for him to talk about. I know very little about Florence's illness other than that she had surgery and it was unsuccessful.

There is no history of breast cancer in the family as far as we know. Florence's parents were both born in Italy and we know very little about the family. She worked for many years in a local candle factory and her family has always wondered if the toxins she was exposed to caused her cancer. She died in 1968 and at that time mammography was used only when there was a suspicion of cancer rather than as a screening tool.

Florence's life life was cut far too short. She didn't live to see her youngest child graduate from high school. She missed weddings and the births of many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I wish I'd had the opportunity to meet Florence, I think we'd have gotten along quite well.

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