My name is Thelma Gant. I’m a breast cancer survivor.
Back in 2010, I was diagnosed with DCIS — ductal carcinoma in situ. DCIS is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts and has not yet spread into any normal tissue.
I received the best care here at Rush University Cancer Center, under the care of Dr. Ruta Rao. I was very lucky to detect it early by having my mammogram. I can’t stress enough the importance of having your annual mammogram check, which is key to early detection if diagnosed. Also knowing your family health history is important.
Once I was diagnosed, my team of doctors discussed my treatment plan, which consists of lumpectomy (removal of tumor), chemotherapy and radiation. After completing all my treatments, I wanted to find some kind of way to help women by educating them about breast cancer awareness.
In 2011, I created Pink Divas Pink Project. This group started out with me and four other women. The group has now grown to 11 members strong. We are starting to reach out to different community getting the message out. I was just invited out to Mount Moriah Baptist Church Health Fair in Harvey, Ill., and it was a great experience. I was able to make contact with this lovely lady who promised me she would schedule her mammogram.
Our goal will be to continue bringing awareness all year long, not just in October. I want that newly diagnosed patient to know she can make it.
Thelma Gant is a clinic coordinator with University Neurosurgery at Rush. Pink Divas Pink Project will walk in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event on Oct. 26 at Soldier Field.