HENLAWSON — According to the American Cancer Society, exactly what causes breast cancer is still unknown, but they do know that certain risk factors are linked to the disease. It is known however, that the chance of getting breast cancer goes up as a woman gets older.
Having regular mammograms offers early detection and treatment of the disease, as was the case of 94-year-old Henlawson resident Rose Manier Farmer.
At the age of 81, a mammogram detected breast cancer in one of Farmer’s breast. Rose said she doesn’t know of anyone else in her family that had been diagnosed with breast cancer and she hadn’t noticed any lump herself in the breast.
“I never had any trouble,” Rose said.
Rose’s treatment included a single mastectomy done by Dr. Judith Brendemuehl and oral chemotherapy.
“Yes, I had to go through treatments. I took the chemo pill,” Rose said. “I didn’t have any trouble. I didn’t lose any hair… well, maybe a little bit but not much to amount to anything.”
According to her daughter, Rose took the pill for almost five years. The American Cancer Society reports that chemo taken by mouth is as strong as other forms of chemo, works just as well and sometimes is given in cycles which cuts down on the harm to healthy cells and allows the drugs to kill more cancer cells.
Rose said she recovered well from her treatment.
“I never could even tell I had it. It changed my life some, but not drastic,” Rose said. “I’m doing good now… not a problem that I know of.”
So good in fact, Rose continued to plant her vegetable garden every year up until she reached the age of 92.
“I’ve worked all my life. When I was able to get out, I’d get out and work in the garden,” Rose said. “I worked in the garden until last year when I had to quit. My back wouldn’t let me.”
Born in Rowan County, Ky., Rose was seventeen when she came to Logan County to help her sister who was due to have a child.
“I came with my sister to take care of her babies because she was expecting another one,” Rose said.
While here, Rose met her future husband, Howard.
“I went back (to Rowan County) and stayed about a year then I came back,” Rose said. “We wrote to each other and when I came back we went to making preparations to get married. Been here ever since. We had a good life together.”
Rose has been a housewife all her life and Howard was a coal miner employed with Island Creek Coal Company at 22 Holden.
Other than the breast cancer and severe bouts of arthritis, Rose said her health has been good.
“I’ve been really blessed with good health,” Rose said. “I’ve had problems with arthritis; gotten down to where I couldn’t walk and get around with arthritis, but everything else worked out good.”
Rose and her late husband are the parents of seven children: Carolyn Hager, Juanita McKinney, Gladys Stidem, Joanna Farmer, Kathryn Spry, Eugene Farmer and Chelmar Farmer, who died in infancy.