'Gallery Of Courage' Honors Breast Cancer Survivors
Albany, September 27 --- Courage has many faces in an exhibit unveiled today by the New York State Department of Health.
Gallery of Courage, the exhibit at the New York State Museum features portraits of women who have survived breast cancer. Having successfully battled the disease, they hope to convince other women of the importance of breast cancer screening.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the exhibit's grand opening, State Health Commissioner Barbara A. DeBuono, M.D., praised the project and thanked the women for their courage in speaking out.
We have to spread the message that the cure rate for breast cancer is getting better, but only if this disease is detected and treated early, Dr. DeBuono said.
Because you are willing to share your personal experiences, many lives will be saved.
According to the Commissioner, a recent study by researchers at Cornell University revealed that women often dramatically overestimate the probability that they will develop breast cancer, and that they will die from it.
Because they are afraid to find out they have cancer, many women avoid screening. The result is a potentially deadly delay in treatment, she said.
I feel that early detection and a positive attitude are keys to survival, said Eleanor Lyon of Cobleskill, Schoharie County, who is among those being honored by the Health Department. Lyon, who was treated for breast cancer more than 26 years ago, knows firsthand the importance of identifying the disease in its earliest stages.
Through early detection, you can survive breast cancer and enjoy a quality of life beyond what you had experienced before being granted a second chance, agreed Edie MacDonald of Millbrook, Dutchess County, another Gallery of Courage honoree.
My promise to all women diagnosed with breast cancer is that I will not lie down and give in to this disease, said Mary Marvin of Lockport, Erie County. By participating in the Gallery of Courage, Marvin feels she is encouraging all women
to never give up because together we can make a difference.
Approximately 180,000 Americans are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and 40,000 die. To improve those odds, New York has established Breast Health Screening Partnership programs to reach out to women who are at risk of breast cancer but who are unlikely to seek screening. The programs reduce financial barriers to diagnosis and treatment, and address apprehension about the disease. The Gallery of Courage honorees represent Breast Health Screening Partnership programs from across the state.
Helen Middleton of West Sand Lake, Rensselaer County, who considers herself
fortunate to have survived breast cancer, believes the exhibit will have a powerful impact.
I often find that it is appreciated by people going through a cancer treatment program when I talk to them with insight and honesty about what to expect and positive ways to cope with the situation, she said.
These women are sending a message loud and clear that early detection is our best protection, and that life is not over after a diagnosis of breast cancer, Dr. DeBuono said.
Theirs is the face of hope. That's what the Gallery of Courage is all about.
The Gallery of Courage will remain on display at the State Museum in Albany through October 3. From October 4 through 12, it will be exhibited on the Main Concourse of the Empire State Plaza. Afterward, it will become a traveling exhibit, available for use throughout the state.9/27/95-102 OPA