Biography of a Cancer Survivor


Avon sold this compact to support breast cancer research



When Ann Tracy Marr, a Detroit native, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she became the average cancer patient. Then the diagnosis tightened to triple negative breast cancer. Marr was no longer average; she was a high-risk cancer patient. Now she is a cancer survivor.



Despite having published several novels, which many think is exotic, Ann Tracy Marr considered herself an average person. Then, following in the footsteps of three generations of her family, Marr was diagnosed with breast cancer and became the average cancer patient.

The diagnosis tightened. It was triple negative breast cancer. She was no longer average, but a high risk cancer patient.

To maintain her sanity, keep track of what was happening, and figure out what was going to happen, Marr kept a diary of her thoughts, experiences, and research. Now she is a cancer survivor.

Once her head was above water, Marr realized that others could benefit from the hours she spent researching surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment and the associated drugs and side effects. Her personal experiences may also be of value.

 She hopes Dear Cancer helps others gain insight, strength, and wisdom in dealing with cancer.



Born in the metro Detroit area, Ann Tracy Marr considered herself an average person. She spent her time mothering two girls, fixing computers, and writing fantasy romances. Then she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She became the average cancer patient. Since her mother, aunt, and grandmother all suffered the plague of wildly growing cells in their breasts, she was not surprised. But the diagnosis tightened to triple negative breast cancer. Marr was no longer an everyday cancer sufferer. She was something worse, a high-risk cancer patient.

Drawing on solid, Midwest determination, Marr decided to fight cancer intelligently. She wrote a diary, which kept track of details like, “What is that drug for,” and “when did I start to feel that symptom,” things that fall through the mental cracks of complicated medical treatment. She also researched medical procedures and side effects to keep on top of the doctors, stay sane, and anticipate the next cul-de-sac on her route to health.

Marr beat the cancer. When she surfaced from the quagmire of treatment, she realized that her diary could help others diagnosed with breast cancer, especially the dreaded triple negative type. She published Dear Cancer, confident that her quirky, easy to follow writing style could help others face the deadly tumors.


Why does Breast Cancer have pink ribbons?

First, a woman, stealing the idea from Tony Orlando and Dawn's song, tied yellow ribbons around trees to signal her desire to have her husband, an Iran hostage, come home.

Then, AIDs activists started using red ribbons to raise awareness. It appeared at the Tony Awards and suddenly, every cause had to have its own ribbon.

The Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation had been giving pink visors to breast cancer survivors at their races. In 1991, they handed out pink ribbons to participants in their New York City Race for the Cure.

In 1992, Self Magazine had the idea to use the pink ribbon for their Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue. Evelyn Lauder, a breast cancer survivor and high up in the Estee Lauder company, said she would put the ribbons on every cosmetic counter in America. The color was the ribbon manufacturer's "150 pink", a basic standard pink hue. Estee Lauder cosmetic counters handed out 1.5 million pink ribbons with a laminated card describing how to do a breast self-exam. And they collected petitions to ask Washington to increase funding for research.

Other companies got involved. In 1993, Avon started selling a pink enamel and gold ribbon and raised 10 million dollars. Today, more than 100 companies sell pink ribbon items, with proceeds going to research.

The pink ribbon is becoming less popular. Some people hate it. I didn't know that when I designed the cover of Dear Cancer. I'm sorry if you dislike it, but the pink ribbon signifies breast cancer to me.


The steps to beating triple negative breast cancer

Have your yearly mammogram

When the mammogram shows possible problems, have ultrasound

When the ultrasound shows problems, have a biopsy

See the doctor, who says you have breast cancer

Have an MRI, which might reveal more tumors

Have an echocardiogram to check that your heart is healthy

Have surgery -- either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy

Visit the surgeon, who tells you that it is Stage I cancer

Decipher the Pathology Report to learn what the doctor doesn't tell you:
It is fast growing triple negative breast cancer

Have a port inserted, either in your chest or your arm

Undergo a PET scan to look for cancer elsewhere in your body

Do chemotherapy as many times as the doctor advises

Finish chemotherapy (it only feels like it will last forever)

Have a radiation simulation to plan radiation treatment

Have however many radiation sessions the doctor advises

Have radiation boosts to target the tumor more exactly

Have a mammogram

Have another mammogram

Keep having mammograms








Estee Lauder breast cancer items

Estee Lauder items that support breast cancer research