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Name: Dale Hall

Diagnosed At Age: 72

Status: Cancer Free

Bio: Dale Hall, 72, from Riverside County, California has always strived to live life to the fullest. In the late 1990s, Dale, a divorced mother of three grown children, retired from her job at the telephone company, bought a motor home and set out on a cross country road trip all by herself.

Dale has three children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. After almost forgoing her yearly mammogram, Dale was diagnosed with breast cancer after a needle biopsy came back positive. Dale was thankful she went ahead with the mammogram. “I never had any problem in the past and figured the older I got the less chance I had of getting cancer. Dang, was I wrong!”

Dale is a genealogy enthusiast, tracing her family’s history back many years. While researching her family history one day she learned that a cousin she used to speak with frequently had passed away from breast cancer.

It was while researching her father’s side of the family that a cousin’s obituary popped up. Dale was shocked as she used to speak with her cousin regularly. Dale learned her cousin had found a small lump four years earlier, but had ignored it until it was too late. Knowing about the history of breast cancer in her family and after having it herself, she encourages her daughters and granddaughters to get mammograms regularly. Now that she’s recovered, Dale plans to visit the east coast to continue her genealogy research and to see her granddaughter play volleyball at her college in Georgia.

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My reaction when I was first diagnosed: My doctor came in and read the report from my needle biopsy, turned to me and said, “You have cancer.” My reaction was, “No, I don’t!” He handed me the report, and all I thought was, “How am I going to tell my kids.”

How I’m feeling now: Great! I got Intraoperative Radiation Therapy when I had my lumpectomy. Essentially, I received a full course of radiation treatment during my surgery. It was as though I had cancer one day, had surgery and the next day it was gone.

My inspirations: Laughter and a positive attitude. Also, I no longer allow negative people into my life.

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My support system: My children and grandchildren were so supportive. We all looked forward to a positive outcome and did not look back. When I told my children, I also said, “It is what it is, and we will get through this together.”

I’m proud of: The strength I found within myself. How this made me look at what is really important in my life.  My brother lost his wife of 55 years the day I was diagnosed.  He has recently been diagnosed with dementia. We see each other every few days and now when he repeats something over and over, I just love him more and more. There are still happy memories we share, and we never forget to laugh.

I’m afraid of: With all the things I want to do now, I’m afraid I won’t live to age 145… and spiders.

I’ve learned: I’ve learned that I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought I was.

My advice to new patients: Don’t panic, but find the best cancer doctor or center offered in your area. Learn, learn, learn! Know your cancer.

When I learned that breast cancer in women has one of the highest survivor rates, 83 percent after five years, it was like a weight was lifted and that negative cloud over my head was gone. Be positive!

To see more of our 31 Survivors in 31 Days stories, click here!