CV Teacher shares breast cancer story

By Conner Pennington –

The View –  

In 2003, Sally Graham, an English teacher and debate coach at Castle View High School, found a lump under her arm that turned out to be breast cancer. She became part of a unique statistic: The National Cancer Institute says the disease affects one of eight women in their lifetimes.

Ten years later, the cancer returned. And, like before, she survived. But both times, her cancer had a major impact on her family.

“While I was going through chemotherapy (in 2003), my husband had actually helped me shave my head because my hair was falling out,” she said. “It had a huge impact on my younger son who was living with us at the time . . . and it was heartbreaking for him.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, one of every 10 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1970s. But in 2010, the number grew to one in every eight women.

Despite this rising figure, Graham says the disease’s spread often goes unrecognized. “It’s a lot more common than people think. I’m the fourth one in my group of friends to get breast cancer.”

Because of the large numbers affected by the disease —  more than 200,000 people a year are diagnosed with breast cancer — many organizations have promoted awareness of the cause through pink ribbons and other means. October, which was breast cancer awareness month, saw many events, including the Susan G. Komen walk, to highlight the cause.

“I actually don’t mind slogans like ‘Save the ta ta’s’ or the pink ribbons,” Graham said. “It shows that they support us, and that they’re there for us.”