WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Lynne Ward



It is estimated that 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women is breast cancer. Worldwide, 1.68 million women were diagnosed in 2012 alone. This Woman of the Week has faced the enemy head on and tread the rough path to recovery.


When cancer is so common, we can become desensitized to it and forget how devastating it can be. Lynne Ward of The Miner’s Arms in Swarthmoor knows all too well, having found a small lump on her breast whilst on holiday with her husband.

Research shows that women are taken less seriously in the doctor’s office. Due to sexist stereotypes, women are often seen as ‘emotional’ and ‘irrational’. This attitude has to stop, because people like Lynne are being misdiagnosed – and not everything that ails a woman can be attributed to hormones.

When finally doctors sent her for a mammogram, she found the examiner to be rude and insensitive. She describes how she was mocked for the fear that comes with finding a lump:

‘He said. “Why are you upset? These things are usually nothing.” And then when he told me, he didn’t seem to care. It was “you have cancer” and then he started talking about chemo and radiation.’

Lynne speaks very openly about her journey, about the lack of blood flow that left her breast deteriorating and the gruesome reality of cancer that is dubbed over in the movies. Still, she doesn’t warrant pity, especially not from herself. ‘You can’t feel sorry for yourself, when everyone in the room is having the same treatment – how can you feel sorry for yourself?’

The cancer spread to her lymph nodes and suddenly, she was whisked into scans and rounds chemotherapy and radiation. At one point, she even considered stopping her treatment. Lynne thought once she was no longer having treatment, things would improve – but only five years later, she has never been given the all clear and is not even given yearly check-ups despite the possibility of a reoccurrence.

‘It’s the fear, and not just for me but for my daughters. It could be hereditary.’
Despite the terrible times she has experienced, Lynne is still a woman of incomparable warmth. She is the sort of person who sits down with a total stranger and tells them her story, in the hopes that her triumphs and pain can help others. During her treatment, she shaved her hair off to raise money for charity and she speaks honestly about the medical professionals who mistreated her, because no one should suffer at the hands of someone who is supposed to be helping them.

Lynne’s story is a prime example of how the sexist stereotypes are causing Doctors to ignore women’s symptoms early on. Breasts are often part of a women’s identity and to have them treated with little care only aids in perpetuating the dangerous ideas that women’s health does not matter.

Lynne, is determined to prove that isn’t true. You know your body, and you have a voice…so use it.

Lynne, you are an inspiration.

If you’d like more information on this subject, you can find all my sources here
 

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