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Y-ME hosts dinner for breast cancer survivors

October 19, 2000

Y-ME hosts dinner for breast cancer survivors



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


Every woman has heard it at some time.

Advice from their doctor, teacher, family or friend to conduct monthly breast self-examinations so lumps are detected early.

Gina Esposito used to check herself, but not faithfully.

Then four years ago she found a lump.

Esposito, 29, of Greencastle, Pa., had surgery and chemotherapy after she was diagnosed with malignant breast cancer and is today cancer-free.

But, Esposito wants other women, especially young women, to know how important it is to conduct breast self-examinations monthly.

"For those of us that are too young to have mammograms it's one of the few ways to detect cancer at the early stages," Esposito said Thursday night before a breast cancer survivors dinner at the Four Points Hotel Sheraton.

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While there was no family history of breast cancer, Esposito said she did fit some of the risk factors such as not having children at an early age and having her menstrual period start at a young age.

She got through the experience with the support of her boyfriend, Joe, whom she married about a year after the surgery. They have two children, Camden, 17 months, and Madison, 4 months.

"He stayed with me the whole time," Esposito said.

She also got support from Y-ME of the Cumberland Valley, which hosted Thursday night's dinner for 290 survivors and guests, said Executive Director Joan Fell.

It was through Y-ME's Hope Line that Esposito was able to talk to another young woman who had gone through breast cancer and could give her an idea of what to expect.

Esposito now volunteers for the Hope Line, which tries to match breast cancer patients with survivors of a similar age, diagnosis and treatment.

With Y-ME's support group and the Hope Line there are a lot more support and informational options for women diagnosed with breast cancer today, said Ruth Coe, 45, of Waynesboro, Pa.

Coe said when she was diagnosed in 1991 there was no obvious place to turn for support or help other than her doctor. She learned about Y-ME, which started in 1989, through the newspaper and began attending talks.

Now as a volunteer and trainer for Help Line, Coe talks to other women who want to hear her story.

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