Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thinking of Kikkan Randall and Others Affected by Breast Cancer

Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall announced yesterday that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Randall is a 5-time Olympian and 13-time World Cup race winner in cross country skiing.  She and Jessie Diggins provided one of the great moments during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics when they won the women's team sprint and earned the first Olympic gold medals for a U.S. cross-country skiers. 

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall (right).  Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
Randall's diagnosis hits home for me as my wife is a two-time breast cancer survivor.  According to the Anchorage Daily News, Randall found two pea-sized lumps in her breast on Mother's Day and will begin chemotherapy this week.  Like many younger women affected by the disease, she is a mother, with a 2-year-old son. 

There is a 1 in 8 chance of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer during her life time.  However, there are also 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States and many reasons to be optimistic.  Increasing survival rates in recent years are believed to be due to catching breast cancer earlier and improved treatments.  Forty percent of breast cancers are discovered by women who find a lump, as was the case for Kikkan, highlighting the importance of performing self exams and taking action to see a doctor if anything unusual is detected. 

I am thinking of Kikkan and everyone who is affected by breast cancer today.  Be vigilant, perform self exams and screenings as recommended by medical professionals, and keep the faith.