Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Maryville Survivor's Story

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As breast cancer impacts people around the world, it also happens to those around us at Maryville. Breast cancer is a part of our mothers, cousins, professors, janitors and classmates, and in October, it is breast cancer awareness month.

Geri Dreiling shares her story about her fight against breast cancer. Photo courtesy of Katie Mann.
Geri Dreiling shares her story about her fight against breast cancer. Photo courtesy of Katie Mann.

In 2013, Geri Dreiling, communications professor, was going to get a physical when the doctor discovered a lump in her breast. At this point in time she wanted to be positive and hope it wasn’t cancerous.

“Finding out I had breast cancer was scary. It wasn’t anything that I was expecting at all. I thought I was perfectly healthy, and it was a total surprise to me,” Dreiling said.

Finding out a friend or coworker may have breast cancer is a very emotional experience.

“I only knew that it was a lump,” Dreiling said. “I didn’t want to tell anyone what the doctor told me, because [at the time] I didn’t know if it was cancerous or not.”

“As soon as the doctor found the lump, I decided to go to the Siteman Cancer Center for a follow up and for a mammogram to test it, because when you first find something, they don’t know if it is cancerous or not. [It] takes a few weeks and is not fun to worry about. Once I went to Siteman, they told me it was pretty likely cancerous before they got the final results back. After my biopsy, they confirmed that it was cancerous, and from there, I went into surgery.”

Luckily, technology is so advanced that they can test a tumor to see what they genetic makeup is. Fortunately, Dreiling had the lowest stage, stage 1 breast cancer. It was not an aggressive form, so she was able to skip radiation completely.

“Going into the breast health center I saw a lot of young women going through breast cancer treatment. It wasn’t just older persons going through it, so it was sobering to me seeing that.” Dreiling said.

Breast cancer awareness month is about informing people on this type of cancer, supporting survivors and remembering those who lost their lives to this disease. It is devastating to families who have been affected by it, knowing there is nothing personally that they can do to help their loved ones. However, defeating breast cancer is a feeling of empowerment and relief so indescribable.

Breast Cancer can affect anyone. Support by donations to the Breast Cancer Foundation can help save a life. Check out www.abcf.org to donate and get involved.

The American Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF)64355_10205018975092872_1058857480373293156_n

Their mission is to provide financial assistance for breast cancer screenings and tests regardless of age or gender. This is achieved by the Breast Cancer Assistance Program (BCAP), the Community Partnership Program and the Community Advocacy Program. The goal of each of these programs to reduce disparities in access to diagnosis and the treatment of breast cancer.



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