On becoming a breast cancer survivor

Getting through treatment is only the beginning.

The impact of breast cancer is as individual as the women who survive it. It can be an arduous though temporary challenge or an experience so transformative that it divides existence into two parts — before and after.

Perry Colmore has experienced the disease both ways. When she was 45, she was diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in situ, a noninvasive disease that signals an elevated risk for invasive breast cancer. Given the choice of preventive double mastectomy or simply removing the small tumor, she opted for a lumpectomy. "I breezed right along, assuming I'd be among the 80% who don't have a recurrence," she says.

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