Breast Cancer Awareness: Fund Research. Save Lives. Matching Campaign
Throughout October Pall is raising money for Breast Cancer Research, our associate, Kacey, shares a personal story of why screening is so important
September 30, 2021
In 2021, The American Cancer Society estimated roughly 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer deaths have been steady since 2007 for women younger than 50, but from 2013 to 2018, the death rate (among women older than 50) decreased by 1% per year.1 This reduction is due to advancements in treatment, but also because increased awareness and screening results in catching breast cancer earlier.
To support breast cancer research, Pall will once again partner with Cytiva, Hach and Mammotome to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). During the month of October Pall will be donating $1/unit of a group of products sold into the Life Science Research market.
Early detection of breast cancer is critical
Early detection of breast cancer is one of the most important factors in preventing death. The earlier it is found, the easier it is to treat. Routine screenings are the most reliable way to detect breast cancer early, which is how Kacey Pouliot, Global Product Manager for Microbiology at Pall Corporation, found out she had breast cancer in 2013. Kacey remembers going to the doctor at age 42 for a routine test, without much worry because she wasn’t considered high-risk. She had no family history of breast cancer, nor did she have the genetic mutation that increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Even after an ultrasound found a lump in her breast, she still wasn’t too concerned, and even told her husband not to bother coming to the doctor’s office. She figured it was just something benign.
As Kacey waited to receive an update on the status of her ultrasound, she watched as one of the technicians looked at her ultrasound and say (to another technician), simply, “Five.” The next thing she knew, she was escorted into another room and approached by a more senior nurse. It dawned on her then she was about to receive some bad news. The nurse explained that they had a numbered scale for ranking severity of risk. A “one” meaning she would be re-examined in a year, to a “five” meaning she has the highest probability of having cancer. The nurse ordered a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. It would be another five days until Kacey would know her fate. She describes the five days of not knowing as some of the hardest days of her life.
Finally, on that Monday, Kacey received the results of her biopsy. She had stage 1 cancer. She would need surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, to ensure that the cancer did not reappear. As with most people that receive such news, Kacey was terrified. But what is amazing about Kacey’s story is how she kept such a positive attitude during the whole process, even through gruelling chemotherapy treatments and dealing the loss of her hair. She credits her support system and her baseline of fitness with a lot of her ability to come through the treatments so well. At first, she tried experimenting with dying her hair, and even trying out one of the free wigs at the hospital. But ultimately, she said, “It just wasn’t me”. She had her husband shave her head and decided then and there she would simply become a “scarf person”. Even when she started a new job, and her colleagues saw her without hair for the first time, she made light of the situation and put her colleague’s minds at ease that she was doing well.
What we can learn from Kacey and her story is the importance of perseverance. Kacey described having some excruciating days, but she credits an amazing support system and having a sense of humor with getting her through the process. She also stresses how important it is to get checked for breast cancer and to always err on the side of caution. Kacey’s routine screening led to her being treated early. That quick action most likely saved her life.
After eight months of treatment, Kacey is cancer-free. She still gets checked every year, but continually tells everyone how lucky she is. Stories like Kacey’s clearly illustrate why it is so important to get screened early and motivate our friends and family to do the same.
For more information, resources and support on breast cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society’s website.
Learn more about October's Breast Cancer Awareness campaign and ways to get involved
1 “How Common Is Breast Cancer?: Breast Cancer Statistics.” American Cancer Society, 7 May 2021, www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-common-is-breast-cancer.html.