of Her Own: One Woman's Journey with Breast Cancer
Photographs by Jana Birchum
Text by Tania Hannan
first in a series of features for National Breast Cancer Awareness
Month, this photo essay chronicles the life of a courageous
woman named Gaila. In September 1995, as a working artist
and single mother of two teenagers, she was diagnosed with
a malignant tumor in her left breast.
Within two months doctors
performed a radical mastectomy and, realizing the cancer had spread to
Gaila's lymphatic system and right breast, recommended another mastectomy
and immediate chemotherapy.
Unlike so many others, this
woman's tale ends hopefully. Five years later -- a major milestone for
breast cancer survivors -- Gaila is vibrant and healthy, and painting
once again. The images that follow tell her story.
Find out more about breast cancer with these links: