Raising Awareness about Breast Cancer Prevention & Early Detection
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Breast cancer occurs when malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. As the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 230,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed and more than 40,000 will die from breast cancer each year. Although breast cancer in men is rare, it is estimated that 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year.
Statistics show that one in eight women (12%) will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. However, the National Cancer Institute reports that when breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the five-year survival rate is 98%. Performing monthly breast self-exams and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms increase the likelihood of early detection.
All employees are encouraged to get regular check-ups for preventive care. Eligible employees enrolled in the FedEx Corporation Group Health Plan have 100% coverage for in-network preventive care. This means preventive services are provided at no out-of-pocket cost to you and your covered dependents, including preventive AND diagnostic mammograms. Schedule an appointment today for your preventive care visit and be sure to share the importance of breast cancer screenings with others.
Meet Our Breast Cancer Survivor – Nancy Tarr
1. Tell me about yourself.
My name is Nancy Tarr, and I am a project manager on the Sales Facilitation and Reinforcement team. I have worked at FedEx for 32 years having started my career within the company in Jacksonville, Florida. Later, my husband (a former FedEx employee) and I relocated to Memphis for career advancement and to live closer to family. I am married with two children and two dogs. I would characterize myself as family-oriented, spiritually driven, and optimistic.
2. When, how, and at what stage was your breast cancer detected?
In 2007, my breast cancer was detected during my very first mammogram. My cancer was determined to be Stage 3 and required chemotherapy and radiation treatments. I lost my hair and wore wigs during this period. However, I never lost my desire to live. After being cancer free for six years, last year my physician detected cancerous cells in my breasts a second time. During this occurrence, cancer was detected following my request for a mammogram after having felt a nodule during my breast self-examination. It was determined that I had early stages of cancer in the opposite breast from before. With my family’s support, I chose this time to have a double mastectomy performed as treatment. I have now been cancer free for one year.
3. How has being a breast cancer survivor changed your life?
My breast cancer has taught me to be much more appreciative of the people in my life. Both my personal and work families were extremely supportive throughout my fights against breast cancer. I have vivid memories of my husband, kids and even our dogs trying on my wigs to lighten the mood when I was losing my hair as a result of the chemotherapy treatments. One of my work colleagues downloaded soothing music on an iPod nano so that I could have music to help me relax and rest during my treatment and recovery. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system. As a survivor, I value spending quality time with friends and loved ones. I have learned not to rush because personal interactions are important. I am much more mindful of my own body and of others around me who I am fortunate to co-exist with. I’m extremely grateful for the people that color my life including my family, friends, co-workers (I call them my work family) and physicians.
4. What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer?
Since I was first diagnosed, both my mother and sister have also been diagnosed and won the fight against breast cancer. So I have firsthand experience giving advice and tips to them throughout their treatment and recovery period. I advised them and would advise anyone to journal. Journaling is a great means to document your feelings and emotions throughout your experience. Also, find a source of inspiration. For me, sharing my story through a website that a family friend created was uplifting because the website provided a forum for co-workers, friends, and families to communicate messages that I could read and draw strength from. Those fighting cancer should use their family as buffers when needed. On some days, they may not feel up to talking or even have the strength to get out of bed. If possible, they should depend on those around them for help and support. Another important tip would be to take charge of their health. Be proactive about testing, screenings, and treatment, and also be mindful of their own body. If possible, link with another breast cancer survivor for guidance throughout their journey. Also, stay positive to keep your spirits lifted; this is only a stepping stone that you will surpass.
5. How do you make your health and well-being a priority in your life today?
As a survivor, I can truly say that I’m in better shape now than when I was first diagnosed. I’m extremely conscious of my health and well-being and take great pride in monitoring my food intake and exercise, as well as following my physician’s protocols. I walk and run on a regular basis as a means of exercising and relieving stress. As a result, I have lost 25 pounds in the last year. My dedicated team of physicians at the West Clinic-Memphis is an excellent source of educational information to help me focus on my health and well-being. Additionally, the FedEx Express Cancer Network Affinity Group, local cancer support groups, My Fitness Pal app and Weight Watchers have all served as valuable resources throughout my journey.
For more information on the Cancer Support Network at FedEx, visit https://www.facebook.com/cancersupportfedex or employees can enter keyword cancer on the intranet.
Have you been recently diagnosed with cancer? Eligible employees should visit ConsumerMedical at www.MyConsumerMedical.com or call 1.888.361.3944 for in-depth, objective, personalized, and latest information and support on their diagnosis and available treatment options.
Eligibility and benefit coverage will be governed by the FedEx Corporation Group Health Plan (the “Plan”) document. If there is a discrepancy between the information provided in this material and the Plan document, the Plan document will govern. FedEx reserves the right to change, amend or terminate the Plan at any time for any reason.
Nieika Parks, MHA, PHD is an Enterprise, Health and Wellness Coordinator for FedEx Corporate Services.