Published on October 24, 2022
Hi, I’m Mary Himes, spouse of Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut. And I’m a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Last year, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Like many women, I had delayed my mammogram for just a few months, when COVID concerns outweighed my other health concerns. And I wasn’t really worried, honestly, because I wasn’t going to get cancer—I’m only 56 years old! I exercise, I eat healthy, I take care of myself. But I learned that cancer can affect absolutely anyone.
So my story is one night, in May of 2021, I felt a pea-sized lump in my breast. I knew I needed to get screened right away, but I really wanted to pretend like it wasn’t there. So I went to my screening as quickly as I could, and the mammogram confirmed my fear. And although my cancer was detected relatively early—which offered me more opportunity for effective treatment—these treatments have still taken a toll, both physical, mental and spiritual. So, I urge you, if you’re a woman of 40 years of age or older, please get your mammogram every single year. Please do your monthly self-exams. Do not wait for a symptom. I had no symptoms. Do not let a busy schedule be an excuse to put it off, out of fear. If you have a family history of breast cancer, please talk to your doctor about maybe doing even earlier screenings. Trust me, you really, really want to detect any cancers early. And if you want to learn more about the cancer screenings that you may need, please visit the website preventcancer.org.