A Diary of Healing

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Raise yours by following one woman's path to recovery. Plus, the latest on screening and risk reduction

Mary Ann Nilan had no reason to think breast cancer would stalk her. Not at 39. There was no family history of the disease. A nonsmoker and a marathon runner, she was in tip-top shape. That she had had her three children while in her 20s made her risk even lower. But Nilan, an actress, knew the odds: 1 in 8 American women develops breast cancer. The sister of an oncological nurse, she faithfully examined her breasts each month, which may well be why she's alive--vibrantly, eagerly alive--to share her story.

Nilan found a lump in her left breast in February...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!