University of Vermont

Human Resource Services and Operations

Breast Cancer Awareness

Early Detection is Best ProtectionBreast Cancer Awareness

The focus of attention in our sphere of influence is on educating women about the importance of early detection. Because more women are having mammograms to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, breast cancer deaths are on the decline. Encourage the women in your life to get mammograms on a regular basis!

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States. More than 207,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. The chance of a woman having breast cancer sometime during her life is 1 in 8, and early detection is the key to effective treatment. Learn the steps you can take to detect breast cancer early—when it is most treatable.

For more information, call 1-800-813-HOPE (4673), e-mail, or visit

Read about the largest-ever Breast Cancer Surgery Study by UVM's physician-researcher David Krag, M.D.

Breast Cancer Survival Stories

Photo of Jill TaruleI believe I am cancer free because my tumors were detected early—both times—33 years ago and last year. Don’t let fear keep you from taking care of your health. Being vigilant and getting the right tests at the right time may make all the difference—in treatments and to ensure a long life.

Jill Mattuck Tarule, EdD
Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy

Photo of Susan BittermanA routine mammogram saved my life.  Having never had to even go back for a "do-over" in all my years of annual checks, it was a shock and surprise to find that I did, in fact, have breast cancer. It was small, non-aggressive—and early detection was critical to my successful treatment and happy ending.

Susan G. Bittermann
Business Manager, President's Office

I was doing a breast self-exam when I felt the “dreaded lump.”  It was large and seemed to appear out of nowhere, so I thought I must have a cyst. Two weeks later I saw my women’s health nurse practitioner. She did her usual careful breast exam and also thought it was a cyst. To be sure, she changed my routine mammogram to a diagnostic test with ultrasound.

When I saw both the radiologist and the resident come into the room after the ultrasound, I knew I was in trouble. They indicated that I had several lymph nodes that looked abnormal and the findings were "highly suggestive of breast cancer." I immediately had a biopsy which came back positive. My breast cancer was a particularly aggressive form, so I was very happy that I had done my breast self-exam in between my routine mammograms so that I could start on treatment so quickly. If I had not done this, the cancer may have spread to other parts of my body.

Judith CohenI had no history of breast cancer in my immediate family and both my parents were healthy and lived to be in their nineties. My experience highlighted for me the importance of knowing your body well and self-screening.

Judith A. Cohen, PhD, RN
Professor, Department of Nursing
UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Diane FreiheitI learned about the importance of early detection the hard way. I lost my younger sister to breast cancer when she was just 31 years old. I was 39 at the time, and I immediately began annual mammography screening.

Four years later I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer following a routine mammogram. I went through treatment, was pronounced healthy, then five years later was diagnosed with a new occurrence—again at an early stage. It has been seven years since my last episode and I can say with conviction . . . early detection has saved my life.

Diane S. Freiheit, MS, CEAP
EAP Senior Counselor/Consultant
WorkLife Services Team Lead

Photo of FlowersI started screening tests for breast cancer at about age 40. Several years later I missed a scheduled mammogram due to an extended trip out of town. It took me two-and-a-half years to reschedule that screening mammogram.

The year I restarted screening, the mammogram showed signs of cancer in my left breast. Additional diagnostic tests indicated a high probability for cancer in both breasts. Biopsies were ordered and performed. The results indicated bilateral breast cancer.

Because of early detection I had relatively few cancer treatments and no axillary lymph node dissections. As a result, my white and red blood cell counts did not fall much below normal and I did not experience the degree of impact to my immune system and energy levels that some people experience. Finally, with early detection and bilateral mastectomy, I did not need to undergo radiation treatments.

Thanks to early detection and treatment, I have an excellent prognosis over the long-term, with very low probabilities for recurrence and mortality due to breast cancer.

University of Vermont

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Last modified January 29 2014 04:54 PM