Encouraging women to confirm they’re cancer free is less scary than telling them early detection saves lives, says breast cancer survivor and Payless Breast Cancer Awareness Ambassador 2017, Keisha Butcher.
Hence her call for a change in the conversation to help more people understand that early and regular testing is more likely to confirm that you don’t have cancer. Noting that in the United States, statistics show that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, Butcher told Newsday that for the one woman whose test results do detect an abnormality of some kind, early detection truly is key to “increasing your chance of survival while decreasing your suffering.”
Butcher made her case for a new tag line for breast cancer awareness at the second annual Pink Tea TT, held on October 22 at Chaud Cafe, One Woodbrook Place, Port of Spain. All proceeds from the Pink Tea go to Associates of the Radiotherapy Centre, St James.
Dressed in a pale pink gown, complete with a cape that had a lining of flowers in various shades of pink, Butcher posed for photos with event organiser and host Danielle Jones-Hunte on the pink carpet after her interview with Newsday.
Before that, Butcher told Newsday about the importance of putting lots of questions to cancer specialists.
“Six years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer but they didn’t know the exact type of breast cancer I had until a few years on. So it was difficult for me to get the right kind of treatment. That led to a downhill battle for a while. Eventually I got better when they were able to correctly identify that I have hormone-sensitive breast cancer.”
With her cancer properly identified, Butcher has been receiving treatment for the last four years at the Oncology department of the Sangre Grande District Hospital.
Full of praise for the department, she said, “They are the best. They are second to none in terms of our doctors and nurses. It really is a great programme that they have there.”
Thanking God for bringing her to a place where she can use her voice to “help other women get over the fear of being tested early and regularly,” Butcher said her goal is to get TT to a place where everyone feels empowered enough to do exactly that.
“I share my story a lot to bring hope and inspiration, including on my social media,” Butcher added. You can follow Butcher’s journey on Facebook – search for “Keisha Butcher” – and on Instagram @butcherkeisha