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Tamoxifen Citrate, CAS 54965-24-1 Fights Against Breast Cancer With All-out Effort

Tamoxifen Citrate, CAS 54965-24-1 fights against breast cancer with all-out effort

Denise Dinsmore, Bailey Morse and Dr. Madhavi Toke don't know one another, but they are connected because they are all on the front lines in the battle against breast cancer. One is a patient, another the son of a patient and the third an oncologist committed to helping to find a cure.

The fight against breast cancer goes on throughout the year, but for one month it takes center stage. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it's a time that brings together the people from every aspect of the issue so they can communicate, commiserate, fundraise and plan for a better future.

These are their stories.

'I didn't have time for it'

Denise Dinsmore of Leominster never thought she would get cancer.

Though her father, Jack, had already died of pancreatic cancer, and her mother, Betty, was into the second year of a battle with HER2-positive breast cancer, a diagnosis of her own seemed unlikely.

Yet in late 2010 she was diagnosed with colon cancer. A surgery was quickly scheduled, 2 1/2 feet of her colon was removed, and she was sent home to recover in peace.

That was when she found the lump.

She was lying on the couch when it happened. She waited two weeks before convincing herself to get a mammogram. Days later it was determined she had both invasive and noninvasive breast cancer.

"Telling my mother was the hardest thing I had to do," Dinsmore said. "Here we were, walking this journey with her and now I had to start the journey.

And after watching what she had been through and what she had done, I didn't want to do it."

The silver lining was that she was at least familiar with the world of breast cancer through her mother's ongoing experiences.

She soon launched into her own treatment, which meant meeting with the people who would be responsible for her care. She described a four-hour marathon of meetings with different people. Oncologists, radiologists, geneticists, chemotherapy specialists, mastectomy surgeons, plastic surgeons, all of whom would be working together as a team.

Once she had met them all, the doctors got together to make the group decision of how Dinsmore's cancer could best be treated.

"A doctor asked me early on how I felt about my diagnosis. I told her I felt annoyed. I didn't have time for it and I didn't want to make time," she said.

Now, four years later, Dinsmore is cancer-free. Her surgery was a success, and she's in the middle of a 10-year recovery program.

Dinsmore's mother, however, died of her illness. Despite this, Dinsmore remains an optimist.

"It all put things in perspective for me," she said. "It sounds cliché, but life is short. We've got to enjoy the ride."

In all of the experience, Dinsmore said one memory that remains clear is a day she spent at Massachusetts General Hospital, in the time leading up to her surgery. She was taken by herself into a part of the hospital where she was told to change into a hospital gown.

"Everyone was in a gown and you're moving together kind of like cattle. There were so many women there. Every room was standing-room-only and there were so many rooms," she said. "Every one of them had breast cancer. It astounded me."

'Worth fighting for'

The American Cancer Society predicts that as many as 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed this year alone.

It's numbers like this that have brought together patients and their family members in search of a cure.

"It's something that I know is worth fighting for. It's not a lost cause," said 16-year-old Fitchburg resident Bailey Morse. "Less people are dying because of what we do."

For the past five years, Morse has participated in fundraising for cancer research, most recently traveling with the Leominster-based Cup Crusaders for this year's Susan G. Komen 3-Day cancer walk in Philadelphia. Morse, alongside his mother, Heather, walked 60 miles in three days and together they raised close to $6,000.

Morse's motivation stems from his mother's diagnosis.

"In 2006 my mom was diagnosed for the first time with metastatic breast cancer. In 2009 it moved to her bones. In 2013 it moved to her liver. Last Tuesday it moved to her lungs," Morse said.

Despite the recent diagnosis, the pair traveled to Philadelphia to take part in the walk. 

This was not the first time Morse made the trip to Philadelphia, but it was the first time he was able to be in the walk. In past years he worked as a member of a support crew responsible for cheering on the other walkers.

Since he was only 8 at the time of his mother's diagnosis, Morse has spent close to half his life thinking about cancer.

"I feel like it's made me want to live and experience more," he said. "I feel that I don't think like a kid as much anymore."

The time he's spent around cancer survivors and their loved ones has had a strong effect on Morse over the years. He describes the prevalent feeling around each fundraising walk as being a mix of optimism and inspiration. He said that he thinks that he has changed from his experiences, but ultimately for the better.

Even though his mother doesn't plan on taking part in the walk next year, Morse said he plans to continue walking and raising money for a cure for the rest of his life.

He plans on becoming a doctor, but not an oncologist out of a concern that he would be "too dedicated." Instead, the plan is to become a plastic surgeon because he would rather help people with their scars.

Making a difference

For the doctors who did decide to go into oncology, being surrounded by cancer has to be a choice made carefully.

"What fascinated me most during my residency was oncology. Every day there's something new coming out, but we're still trying to find the magic pill," said Dr. Madhavi Toke. "My decision was that I wanted to be on the cutting edge."

Toke is an oncologist and cancer researcher working out of HealthAlliance Hospital and UMass Memorial Medical Center. For the past few years she's been involved in clinical research for breast cancer in an attempt to find a cure.

She explained that breast cancer is the most prevalent of all cancers worldwide and effects one in every seven women, but she never sees the research as a losing battle.

"As opposed to all the others, we can catch it early and we can make a difference," she explained.

For now, the best people can do to avoid their own diagnoses is making healthy choices. According to Toke, obesity, alcoholism and a sedentary lifestyle can all make someone more susceptible to cancer.

Though a definitive cure remains elusive, Toke believes that in the next 10 years breast cancer might become more akin to a chronic disease. She compared the future of breast cancer patients as possibly mirroring the lifestyles led by people diagnosed with diabetes. It could become something people have but are able to comfortably live with.

"We need to be educating people about warning signs and urging them to go in for mammograms even when they don't think they need one," she said. "I am optimistic, but right now it's all about keeping people educated."

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