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Avoiding Breast Cancer

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Kerri Cunningham is living strong. She's proving to her family and herself that a life-altering surgery will not define her. 18 months ago, Kerri had a double mastectomy. Not because she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but because she feared she might be one day. "My mom has had breast cancer twice and ovarian cancer once. She is a survivor. And her mom passed away at a very young age. I think she was 51 of breast cancer."

Even though her BRACA 1 and 2 tests came back negative, her family history put her at a 60% chance of getting the disease.  

Kerri has two young boys, ages 7 and 8. And with the support of her kids and husband, Kerri decided to take control of her health and remove both breasts. "I didn't expect to have to deal with this at 39 years old."

And while breast cancer remains a concern for her, because a thin rim of breast tissue is still in her body, doctor say her chance of getting the disease is just 4%. Soon after her surgeries were completed, Kerri decided to hit the gym, get a personal trainer and make sure her life would continue as it was before surgery. She's back doing her favorite hobbies like water skiing. Besides fishing, they also hit the ski slopes as a family. In fact, Kerri says she feels stronger now than she did 20 years ago. "I always say it was the easiest difficult decision I've ever made."

In support of finding a cure for breast cancer, thousands of local men and women will be at the 15th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this Sunday, October 6th at the Grand Sierra Resort. For more information and to register, go to http://komennorthnv.org/race-for-the-cure-sunday-october-6th/

Also, The Nevada Cancer Coalition and the University of Nevada Center for Program Evaluation are seeking Nevada women over the age of 40 with no personal history of cancer to take a brief survey. The 10-minute online questionnaire, located at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/nvbreastcancer, serves to assess womens attitudes towards breast cancer screenings and reasons why they may or may not have been screened. The results, which will not include any identifying information of survey participants, will assist the Nevada Cancer Coalition in promoting breast cancer screening to unscreened populations. Participants can also enter to win a gift card once the survey is complete. The online survey will be open until October 25th.

Written By Wendy Damonte
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