Avera McKennan is starting a new campaign called "Men Against Breast Cancer". We sat down with our friend and co-worker Phil Schreck to get his advice for other men coping with a loved one fighting breast cancer.
When Kristie Schreck was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 1/2 years ago her husband Phil Schreck admits he was at a loss for words. The man who adlibs for a living didn't know what to say to show her how much he loved and supported her. So he did the only thing he knew he could do.
Phil says, " I thought I'm going to take care of the kids a lot more than I usually do. I'll do all the laundry, I'll try and make dinner. That's what I thought I was doing to help, but what I should have been doing is spending more time with Kristie finding out how she's feeling. I think the thing I would do differently would be to talk to Kristie much more than I did. I thought I was doing her a favor by not dwelling on it. I would tell guys out there to talk it over. Let her tell you how she is feeling, what she is going through. My mistake is that I didn't do that.
Any family that's gone through cancer will tell you there is no manual to tell you how to go through cancer. That's why Avera McKennan and Phil are trying to reach out to men through the Men Against Breast Cancer Campaign to help guide them through what can be an emotional roller coaster.
Phil says, "What we hope to do is get the word out to men to get your wife, mother, daughter if they are old enough, your mom to get a mammogram. It can make all the difference."
Avera Oncologist Dr. Amy Krie says, "We know mammograms save lives. We know if a woman gets routine mammograms her chances of finding breast cancer are higher and her chances of surviving are higher. We still don't do great in that department only 50-60% of women are getting mammograms. Let me emphasize, I see women everyday with breast cancer, early detection is really what saves lives."
Start now men, if the woman in your life is 40 and hasn't had a mammogram yet keep insisting she get one. she will thank you in the long run. And we are thankful Phil and Kristie for being so open in sharing their story of surviving breast cancer.