Mark Metcalf

Survivor Stories, pt.3

By - Nov 4th, 2010 04:00 am

Photo by Merfam via Flickr.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month may have passed, but as we know, the disease never takes a break. Backstage continues its series talking to survivors and their families with Regina Aringer.

Regina had no family history of cancer — that she knew of. As the daughter of a first generation German immigrant, her family medical history is vague at best. She admits that the idea of being diagnosed with breast cancer seemed about as far-fetched as winning the lottery.

Then several co-workers — women around her age — were diagnosed, and she took a more proactive approach with preventative screenings.

At 45, Regina received her own diagnosis — a tumor was found, and she was presented with a handful of treatment options. What’s interesting about Regina’s story is that she opted for a route that most women would go to as a last resort : she immediately requested a mastectomy.

“I believe my exact words were ‘lop it off’,” she says.

Of course it wasn’t easy – beyond the social stigmas and personal anguish, there are also uncomfortable reconstruction surgeries and the fear that the cancer will return. In Regina’s case, the support of family, friends and fellow survivors aided in her recovery and she has been cancer free for ten years.

Mark and Regina discuss social taboos, and Regina explains how the diagnosis inspired her own personal activism.

Listen now:

Learn more about Breast Cancer here. Subscribe to Backstage with Mark Metcalf though iTunes here.

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