She is a breast cancer and pancreatic cancer survivor, and is currently fighting bone cancer. Cynthia Ostaszewski knows what it means to have hope and keep fighting.
“I’ve survived breast cancer since February 2002, pancreatic cancer since February 2010 and bone cancer since February 2015. February is not my month, but I’m doing well and will continue to fight.”
Pancreatic cancer in particular has had a big impact on Cynthia’s family.
“My sister, who was my best friend, passed away of pancreatic cancer in 2009 so my oncologist suggested genetic testing for the disease. I agreed and ended up testing positive for the disease a year after my sister’s passing.”
Reaching out in her Milwaukee community, Cynthia knows that raising awareness of this disease is the first step to bringing it to the forefront of everyone’s mind and creating change. She realizes that the power comes from our nationwide network to make things happen, and education and early detection are also important to generating greater awareness about pancreatic cancer.
“We need to keep on growing the local PurpleStrides, and we need to find a way to make a pancreatic screening part of a yearly exam. We also need to get the information out there about the risk factors. The more people know, the more people will pay attention,” Cynthia said.
As a survivor of three different cancers, she wants to share her experience and help others that have been diagnosed.
“Some days being a survivor of three cancers is a struggle, and other days, it is a huge blessing,” Cynthia said.
“I do have bad days when I say, ‘Why me?’ But most days, I wake up and thank God that I have another day to make a difference in the world. I’m here to help people through their journey and raise awareness.”
When it comes to pancreatic cancer, Cynthia said the best thing patients can do is learn everything they can about the disease and carry on with the fight.
“Keep fighting. Trust your medical team to be on top of the latest technology and learn everything you can about pancreatic cancer.”
“And most importantly, remember this acronym – NEGU – Never Ever, Give Up!”
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