Dawn Moore, Hampton Bays mother of two, is a self-described "poster child" for the early detection of breast cancer. "I have met so many women who are over 40, even a doctor friend of mine, who have never had a mammogram," said Dawn, 44. "I tell them you have to take this seriously."
Dawn had her first screening mammogram at 40. A year later, her mammogram showed early-stage breast cancer. Doctors recommended a lumpectomy of the left breast, a course of radiation and oral hormone therapy. But before they wheeled her into the operating room, they recommended a breast MRI, which revealed a second suspicious spot in her left breast plus two abnormal-looking masses in her right breast. "The doctor said the biopsy showed the two lesions in my right breast were benign, but I didn't feel comfortable waiting to recheck them in six months," she said, and opted for a double mastectomy.
A week after surgery, she experienced stabbing pain in her left armpit and difficulty moving her shoulder. It was a side effect of the lymph node biopsy that required six weeks of physical therapy. She recovered and has been cancer-free for two years.
While devastated at first, Dawn says cancer shaped her life and career in ways she never thought possible. "Cancer made me a better physical therapist and changed my area of specialization," she said. Dawn shifted her specialty from home care to helping breast cancer survivors recover from surgery. She's also become an outspoken advocate of early detection and the role of physical therapy and exercise in cancer recovery.