Jul 29, 2014

By Bob Komsic

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When Ursula May was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1963, doctors told her she had only three months to live and to get her affairs in order.

She just turned 90.

May’s likely the oldest surviving breast cancer patient to be treated at Princess Margaret, when it was a much smaller facility rather than the country’s biggest cancer centre.

In the early 1960s, treatment was aggressive, rudimentary and usually not expected to work.

May had a mastectomy just days after her diagnosis and then began radiation.

She says it took a long time to stop counting her life in three month intervals, but after a few years, she regained her strength, went back to work and lived her life.

Ten years after surgery, she was told she was the only one who survived that long.

Now, regular screening and earlier detection, along with major advances in research and treatment, have greatly improved outcomes for those with breast cancer.

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