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Life goes on, even with breast cancer
A personal account from CNN's Jill Dougherty
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 182,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year. But early detection and a variety of treatment options are improving the outlook for many women. CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty knows first hand about the illness -- she was recently diagnosed and is currently undergoing treatment. Here's her story in her own words.
MOSCOW (CNN) -- In Moscow, back at work, it seems like nothing's changed.
There's videotape to screen and scripts to write and reports on breaking news.
But for now, this is only half of my life.
In the United States, before returning to Russia, I show up for my last chemotherapy treatment with Adriamycin, what my doctors say is the best drug for fighting my breast cancer. They call it the "red devil." It sounds like something connected with communism, I joke.
When my doctor first gave me my diagnosis, I took notes. It was almost like interviewing him -- "So what's this cancer thing all about?" It was very cold-blooded.
It became much less cold-blooded later.
One of the hardest things for me -- and as I found out later, for many people dealing with cancer -- is being treated like a sick person when you don't necessarily feel sick.
Sandy Spender, a member of my cancer support group who has lost her hair in treatment, often dispenses with a hat. "It's funny because I feel so good," she says. "I'll go to the store and I don't have a hat on and I know people are probably looking at me and then I forget why!"
In Moscow's chilly weather, I try to keep my head covered and my exercise schedule as normal as possible -- just like back in the States.
There are times when it's hard for me to forget I'm going through treatment. Like when I take off my wig and see my own bald head. But even this side effect can have its funny moments.
At my computer at home, or in Moscow, work doesn't have to stop.
For me, and for thousands of people in my shoes, neither does life.
Growing evidence indicates that exercise cuts chance of breast cancer
American Cancer Society's Breast Cancer Resource Center
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