If you’ve had the opportunity to meet Gail Brescia, 53, then you know that she is a focused, spunky and dedicated woman ready to take on the world. In fact, the way in which Gail approaches her life, with a positive attitude, confident smile and fashionable high heels, would make anybody second guess that Gail is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer.
As a healthy woman, going about her day-to-day life that included a full-time job, her family and her dog, Gail was shocked when she was diagnosed with cancer in January of 2015 after a routine screening mammogram in December. “I was totally shocked when I found out that I had breast cancer, “said Gail. “Prior to my diagnosis, I was the healthiest I have been my whole life. Then, boom! I have a screening mammogram in December and was diagnosed with cancer in January. It all happened so fast.”
Despite knowing that her life would be different for the remainder of the year while she received treatment, Gail was determined to get through this stage in her life. “This is just a lump in my life. Cancer will not beat me. I am going to do everything I can now because I don’t want to worry about cancer for the next 10 years,” explained Gail. What’s even more admirable about Gail’s determination is that she has taken on cancer on her own terms. “I want to feel like myself. I’m going to put my face on and get dressed every day. I have only missed one day of walking my dogs since my diagnosis. This is who I am. I still allow myself to feel all of the feelings that you have when you have cancer, but I think about the positive. You can’t tell me that there isn’t anything that I can’t do.”
I found my breast cancer through a mammogram. It’s the fear of the unknown. But through a mammogram, you’ll discover the known. This is why breast cancer will just be this lump in my life, and not take my life.
Gail hopes that her treatments continue to go well and expects to pick back up where she left off. “53 isn’t what it used to be. I have so much more life ahead of me and I know that 2016 will be a better year.” One of the main reasons that this will be possible is because Gail’s cancer was found early through cancer screening. She had been going for regular mammograms and her cancer was one that developed within her two year screening interval. This speaks to the importance of regular cancer screening.
In Ontario, women aged 50 to 54 years are the highest number of screen-eligible women who have not had a mammogram. “This surprises me, given the knowledge we have about health and how involved we are in our care,” said Gail, who has always been a health advocate. “I can’t say that it [getting screened for breast cancer] isn’t scary – it is. I found my breast cancer through a mammogram. It’s the fear of the unknown. But through a mammogram, you’ll discover the known. This is why breast cancer will just be this lump in my life, and not take my life.”
Cancer Care Ontario encourages all women aged 50 to 74 years to get screened for breast cancer with a mammogram. It takes 5 minutes to book your appointment and 10 minutes to do the mammogram – 15 minutes could save your life. Just book it. Call 1-800-461-7031 to book your appointment today. For more information visit www.tbrhsc.net/cancerscreening