Improving breast cancer communication
In the 70s when Charlene first noticed her breast lump, it was routine for surgeons to do a biopsy, and if malignant they would do a radical mastectomy immediately and considered it a life-saving procedure. Charlene said that during her diagnosis she did not know anyone else with breast cancer. When she first noticed the lump, doctors thought it was a cyst that would resolve on its own. It was luck that she ended up getting a biopsy, but they still didn’t find anything. It wasn’t until 1982 that she was diagnosed with what they called a “precancerous condition.” While vague and littered with uncertainties, hearing this information at least helped Charlene feel less in the dark. By the time the 80s rolled around, people had at least started talking about breast cancer, so Charlene was a bit less isolated then.