'I wasn't afraid' Woman undaunted in cancer battle


Tribune photo by Aaron Piper/ Breast cancer survivor Alice Aikens poses for a photo Wednesday. Aikens is a two year survivor and eighty-eight years old.

A Freetown woman who grew up during the Great Depression and has experienced a lot in life never dreamed she might have to battle breast cancer late.

“I never, ever thought about breast cancer,” Alice Aiken said.

But in July 2008, when she was 84, Aiken discovered a knot on her left breast.

Aiken, who is now 88, also learned she had inflammatory breast cancer.

“That’s the fastest breast cancer you can have,” she said.

Aiken also had an additional complication. She had been a diabetic for 30 years, and her doctors were concerned about her ability to heal.

“I wasn’t afraid,” Aiken said. “I knew I was going to die some day from the time I was a kid. I thought if I was going die, this was the time to do it.”

But her age did not play a role in what the treatment plan put in place.

“There was never any concern about my age from me or my doctors,” Aiken said.

Aiken said her physician, Dr. John Fye, recommended she have the left breast removed because it was an inflammatory cancer.

“So I went ahead and did it,” she said. “I felt it was the best decision, and I didn’t want to go back.”

Aiken also had chemotherapy before her surgery Jan. 29, 2009, and radiation treatment.

“I thought it was going to go on forever,” she said of the radiation treatment she received at the Don and Janet Myers Cancer Center in Seymour.

The good news is that one year after her surgery, she had a mammography and was declared cancer free.

“I healed good, and I have a mammogram every year in January,” Aiken said. “Nothing is showing up. As far as I know, I’m cancer free. I don’t think about it.”

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