Empower yourself through knowledge

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Advice from survivors

Who better to guide people diagnosed with breast cancer than those who have walked the path? The following is advice for those recently diagnosed with breast cancer from women who have received the diagnosis. Submissions have been edited for clarity and brevity. Read more at www.columbian.com/news/health/breast-cancer.

After the initial shock of hearing the “C” word, get a grip and go read everything you can. Learn as much as you can about your type of cancer. You can go to the internet, but be leery of which websites your information is coming from. Sitting down with a book can be very calming. You don’t need to buy a lot of books; check out the titles on the shelves of your local library.

And don’t worry that you need to have a medical background to understand it. My computer programer mother could discuss types, stages and treatments of breast cancer like she had gone to medical school.

With your new knowledge, you can go have a discussion with your oncologist/surgeon, rather that just listening to their presentation. Having knowledge will make you feel empowered; you needn’t be afraid to ask questions. Most of our fear of something comes from the unknown. However, armed with knowledge, you will feel you have more power and ready to fight the “C.”

— Tanya Cecka of Salmon Creek.

Diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in October 2003.