For years, Theresa Harding has been an advocate of regular mammograms. Twenty years ago, she watched her mother fight, and ultimately lose, her battle with breast cancer. As a result, Theresa has faithfully attended her own annual exams and encouraged those around her to be proactive and diligent about their own health.
Despite her family history, education on the topic, and her regular screenings, Theresa was not prepared for the results of her mammogram in August 2006. The mammogram showed a tumor that, when biopsied, revealed early-stage breast cancer. Theresa underwent a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy in September 2006. The biopsy resulted in what she calls "the best bad news possible" – the cancer had not spread. Because the tumor was detected at such an early stage, it was non- invasive, and chemotherapy was not required. For post-surgery treatment, Theresa attends regular radiation therapy sessions.
Theresa credits her husband and her medical teams with giving her strength and inspiration for her fight with breast cancer. Her husband and best friend of 26 years has been her number one supporter throughout her diagnosis and treatment. She credits her entire medical team with guiding her in the right direction, and her faith, family, and friends in helping her maintain a positive outlook.
While Theresa is thankful that her cancer was detected early, she is most afraid of the fact that her diagnosis means that her daughter and granddaughter are at an increased risk for breast cancer. She hopes that her garden will help educate and remind women that regular screenings and early detection are not only important, they give hope.