Couple to celebrate ‘cancerversary’ – marking 23 years of breast cancer survival

Gladys Rodriguez and her husband Tony, of Lindenhurst, will soon be celebrating her “cancerversary” – marking her 23 years as a survivor.
In 1997, Gladys Rodriguez was taken for a mammogram appointment, and the diagnosis was unexpected. She was told that she had breast cancer.
The Puerto Rican native went through 36 sessions of radiation, the removal of lymph nodes and a lumpectomy.
Five days after coming home from surgery, a woman from the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery volunteer program came to her door and gave her a new sense of hope.
She couldn’t recall the volunteer’s name, but her story of survival inspired her.
“If she could survive, I can too,” she said.
For 22 years, Gladys Rodriguez, the mother of three and grandmother of seven, has also been volunteering and offering support and information to others who have just received the same diagnosis.
She also talks to many women in the Spanish community about the importance of early detection.
Over the most recent five-year period (2013-2017), Cancer.org reports the breast cancer death rate declined by 2.1% per year in Hispanics/Latinas, 1.5% per year in blacks, 1.0% per year in whites, and 0.8% per year in Asians/Pacific Islanders, and was stable in American Indians/Alaska Natives. However, mortality rates are no longer declining for Black women in Colorado and Wisconsin, and for white women in Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia.