August 4, 2020

Letter to the Editor: When Breast Cancer Awareness Month Suddenly Takes on Personal Meaning, Critical Importance of Annual Mammogram is Stressed

To the Editor:

I think just about everyone is aware by now that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In most years my October thoughts have been of a special aunt (my mother’s sister and my godmother), and my Grandmother, who was in her 90s when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both were survivors – and my Grandmother lived to be 100.

This year, the pink ribbons and pink pumpkins I’m seeing are reminding me of a journey I began in August of this year. In the middle of lots of happy plans for my daughter’s September wedding (which was everything she had hoped for!), I learned that I, too, have breast cancer and my crash course in breast cancer was off and running.

My initial diagnosis has led to several biopsies, that last of which took place just this week. I know that surgery lies ahead, and will be discussing options and recommendations with my surgeon on November 1, just as Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2018 ends.

It’s really out of character for me to be sharing so much personal information – especially in this public format.  But finding cancer as early as possible is what early detection is all about. If my little story (one of so many similar stories) gives you the nudge you need to schedule your annual mammogram, then my departure from character will be worth it for me.

Although I don’t know yet where my path will lead, I do know that my initial cancer was found only because of my annual mammogram.  And, as frightening as cancer is, I can’t help but wonder how long it might have gone undetected, undiagnosed and untreated without that simple annual test.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As it draws to a close, please call your mother, your sister(s), your cousins, and your friends and remind them all that early detection could save their lives.


Cathy Frank,
Old Lyme,



  1. Bonnie Reemsnyder says

    Cathy – you are an inspiration for everyone. Thank you for sharing because you care so much about others! We are all with you – supporting you on your journey.

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