18 years ago Miller's oncologist treated her first breast cancer aggressively, giving her a 1-3% likelihood of developing a second breast cancer. Last month she learned she had a new cancer (note: not a recurrence of the first). Now recovering from double mastectomy, Miller will begin a course of chemo next week.
Epiphany #1: Find a great oncologist you can trust, with no regrets. Healthy Survivors get good care, which begins with consulting great physicians for your condition.
Epiphany #2: Do regular breast self-examinations. Miller reprimands herself for never doing self-breast exam (SBE): "My biggest regret...is having suffered through it once, and having been told thousands of times (as all women have) that breast self-examination is the key to early detection that saves lives, I simply didn't heed the advice.
Miller explains--not justifies--her lapse: Early attempts at SBE caused anxiety and lack of confidence, and her good prognosis and her meticulous follow-ups with great physicians" fostered subconscious arrogance" that she was safe. Now she fears future regret for her role in her illness, if this new cancer doesn't respond well to treatment. She beseeches women who don't do BSE, for whatever reason: "Who do you think is out there, constantly watching your body, doing everything possible to keep you from getting sick? Nobody. Nobody but you."