n October, our lives become awash in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We buy ribbons; we buy t-shirts; we buy bumper stickers. We race for the cure. We stand behind our loved ones battling the disease. We hear countless stories of women who have bravely taken the journey. But there is one population we hardly ever mention: those with breast cancer behind bars.
I was diagnosed with stage 3B breast cancer on Valentine’s Day, 2002, a date I’ll never forget. I had six rounds of chemotherapy before going to jail in Maricopa County, Arizona. As an everyday patient with cancer, the world is nice to you: Friends rally around you, your doctors are concerned and compassionate, and strangers have words of kindness when they see your head newly bald from chemo. But as an inmate with cancer, all that changes.