Paying It Forward: How a Breast Cancer Survivor Inspired Others to Get Screened
by Sara Chow
“I have to get this looked at,” Cindy Manty contemplated to herself as she thought about a lump that she could feel in her breast. She’d had cysts before, so she thought it was just another cyst and put off going to get it checked out.
“A friend of mine is a breast cancer survivor, and she told me to go and get it looked at, I put it off,” explains Manty. “Then, I saw her again a couple of months later and it reminded me to book a mammogram. I took it as a sign that I should just do it.”
Manty, a resident of Devlin near Fort Frances, had a mammogram in late 2014 and was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2015. “I really thought it was just a cyst, so when I was diagnosed I was totally surprised,” says Manty, who had a lumpectomy in March, and started radiation therapy in Thunder Bay in May.
With her family and friends in mind, Manty took each step of her cancer journey in positive stride. She didn’t want her life or her family’s life to be consumed by cancer. Since she finished treatment in June 2015, she has been using the advice her friend once gave her to get screened and is paying it forward by sharing that advice with all of the women in Fort Frances and the surrounding areas. “A lot of women say that they don’t want to do it, but I would rather go and get squished [with a mammogram] than have to go through treatment.”
Recently, Manty served as a local patient spokesperson for a campaign called ‘Mammothon’. Mammothon was a province-wide one-day breast cancer screening event held on May 4th, 2016. In Northwestern Ontario, all Ontario Breast Screening Program sites participated, including Riverside Health Care in Fort Frances, which offered a full day of walk-in appointment availability.
With Manty’s help by sharing her story, in combination with her upbeat personality and determination to promote cancer screening, the campaign was a huge success! In Fort Frances it was estimated that 10 women would walk-in to get screened, but 33 women got screened! This could not have happened without the invaluable messaging that cancer survivors, like Manty, and their families can share with others.
“We did it! I am so overwhelmed and happy about the results of this campaign,” said Manty. “I never would’ve thought that my story could help so many people. I’m glad that I could pay it forward and hopefully these women will do the same.”
For more information on breast cancer screening visit www.cancercare.on.ca/pcs/screening/breastscreening