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Komen Maine and Hollywood Casino Honor Jane Sawyer as Survivor of the Week

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BANGOR The Susan G. Komen Maine Race for the Cure - Bangor and Survivor Sponsor Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway are proud to honor Survivor of the Week Jane Sawyer of Brewer.

Sawyer's breast cancer was found by her gynecologist during a clinical breast exam. 'I had been having mammograms regularly for nearly 10 years, and I had had a mammogram just several months before,' said Sawyer. 'I think women should use every available avenue. Symptoms aren't always there. If I hadn't gone to my doctor for a yearly checkup, if I hadn't allowed my doctor to check my breasts a procedure which women can simply say no to my cancer may have been stage three when it was found instead of stage two.'

Sawyer began her treatment with a lumpectomy. 'They didn't get clear margins, which meant it wasn't a really encapsulated tumor. At first they thought it was one centimeter, but when they got in they found it was really quite large four centimeters. I ended up having to have a mastectomy, chemotherapy. The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, so they took my lymph nodes too.

'My first chemo treatment was Aug. 27," Sawyer continued. "The Race was a couple of weeks later. My best friend from high school was visiting me. I said to her, Let's go to the race; I've never been to the race and I know I can't race,' because I was feeling pretty lousy. They had a short walk, but I completed it. It was so inspiring to be among that sea of women with pink shirts. For the first time since my diagnosis, I felt like if all these women can get through it, I can get through it.'

As Sawyer began to heal from her treatment, it was only a year later that she found a lump in her other breast. 'The lump couldn't be detected by tests MRIs or mammograms - but doctors could feel the lump,' said Sawyer. 'They gave me an option, lumpectomy or mastectomy. I think it took me about 30 seconds to say mastectomy.'

After another year and a second diagnosis, she decided it was time for her to undergo breast reconstruction. 'Four years into the process, everything was finally finished. I was finished,' Sawyer said.

Jane Sawyer continues to have treatment at Eastern Maine Medical Center as part of a clinical trial. 'My other and final treatment was hormonal,' said Sawyer. 'I've been taking medication to block the production of estrogen which is what fed my tumors. Typically the standard treatment is five years, but as part of the clinical trial that treatment is prolonged for five more years. It's a great opportunity to contribute to research and the overall knowledge of breast cancer.'

'I'm amazed by the women that I've met throughout this journey,' recalled Sawyer. 'I am cancer free right now, and have been for five years it was five years on Jan. 5. That is a landmark nowadays.'

The Bangor Race is in its 16th year. To find out how to get involved with The Komen Maine Race for the Cure, visit www.komenmaine.org or call 207-262-7117.

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