The woman next door is a survivor is a series of stories about incredible women in the community that have overcome a mountain of obstacles with a relentless and fearless attitude. At 75 years young, Juliet “Julie” Milligan is excited to have the opportunity to advocate for other women. “When I got diagnosed it was a wakeup call to make my life more meaningful,” Julie says.
After successfully completing breast cancer treatment, which Julie described as “hellishly unpleasant,” she continued having regular breast cancer screenings and went on with her life. Then she found a lump on her side and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “I did not realize that having breast cancer increased my risk of getting ovarian cancer. It caught me by complete surprise. I want to make sure other women know more than I did.”
Currently, there are no routine screening tests for uterine or ovarian cancer. By the time a woman has any symptoms the cancer is often in an advanced stage. Citing the advancements in breast cancer screening, treatment and research as a blueprint, Julie hopes to increase awareness of uterine and ovarian cancer.
Just last month Julie participated in AdventHealth Foundation’s Teal Takeover where she walked 5K every day for 30 days. Teal is the awareness ribbon color for ovarian cancer. Julie also helped fundraise for the Teal Magnolia Luncheon in May.
Never letting her cancer diagnosis keep her from living life to the fullest, Julie enthusiastically shares how she and her late husband George went fly fishing on six different continents and how she has loved getting to spend time with her three grandchildren who live in Geneva, Switzerland.
According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women. “My hope is that with more awareness and research we’ll find a reliable screening test for ovarian cancer and eventually, just like breast cancer, we’ll be able to catch it earlier and have better outcomes.”
This month, in partnership with AdventHealth for Women, we’re recognizing some of the women in our community who are survivors of breast cancer, who have had a recurrence, or who are currently going through treatment. To us, all of these women are survivors in their own right. It is the hope of these women that by telling their stories they inspire and educate other women who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis.