Tammy A. Miller was proudly surrounded by outrageously decorated bras At the PA Breast Cancer Coalition annual conference earlier this fall. It was an unusual ploy for attention while raising funds for an important cause.
While most prefer to keep their undergarments under wraps, Miller prefers things out in the open. It’s the best way, she says, to make uncomfortable topics like breast cancer more comfortable. As a breast cancer survivor, Miller has become an outspoken advocate encouraging others who are fighting the disease and urging women to get mammograms.
For Miller, it started about twelve years ago when she noticed “her once perky nipple decided it wanted to turn into an inny.” She went for a regular check-up but was told everything looked fine. Still, she opted to get a mammogram even though she couldn’t schedule it for two months.
“You have to know your body and you have to fight for what you need,” she said.
The mammogram revealed an area of distortion that turned out to be cancer. As she went through treatment, she realized that her strongest weapon was her own attitude.
“You can’t control what happens, but you can control how you respond to it,” she explained. Her experience prompted her to write The Lighter Side of Breast Cancer Recovery, now in its third edition. She followed that book with Pink Ribbon Stories, A Celebration of Life, a collection of motivational and inspirational stories from women breast cancer survivors.
Miller, once a professional clown and now a speech coach, speaker and auctioneer, spends time finding new and interesting ways to raise awareness of breast cancer ranging from organizing a bra bedazzling fund raising contest to convincing an auditorium of people to don red noses and play kazoos. She did that at a Penn State Lady Lions game where breast cancer survivors were honored.
The best thing women can do for themselves in the fight against cancer is to get an annual mammogram, she said.
“A lot of women don’t want to go because they’re afraid,” she said. “They should be empowered, but instead, they’re fearful that it will be bad news.”
She wants to assure women that they can handle whatever happens. Her books offer some insights into how to do just that.
ella health is scheduling appointments in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Toms River, New Jersey. Appointments are available on short notice, sometimes even on the same day. Results are provided within one business day.