In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we recently sat down and caught up with Kim Loescher. Kim is a former company driver turned owner operator who also is a breast cancer survivor. Earlier this month, Kim added a new, large decal to her trailer that encourages fellow truckers (and anyone on the road) to perform breast self-exams every month to detect cancer early on. When we spoke with Kim, she also emphasized the importance of routine mammograms and how tough it can be for truckers to get home for medical appointments.
Check out the rest of our conversation with Kim below.
Kim’s New Breast Cancer Awareness Decal
“I’ve got my new decal on my trailer,” Kim said. “It’s not huge, but it’s big enough to see. It says, ‘Feel for lumps…save the bumps’ and it’s got the big breast cancer emblem in the center. My goal with the decal is to remind people that it’s breast cancer awareness month and to get their mammograms done. How many will see my decal and say, ‘Oh, shoot —I need to get my mammogram done this year.’ That’s what happened to me. It’s a reminder to people that they need to do this and should be doing it all the time. Definitely the sooner you feel a lump through self-detection, the better the chances of survival and cure.”
According to Kim, fellow owner operator Matthew Brown made the new decal for her. The words strength, courage, love and hope appear in the ribbon at the center of the design.
“Strength, courage, love and hope are all the things you need to get through that battle,” Kim shared.
Why Early Detection Is Important
“Early detection is so important, especially as a truck driver,” said Kim. “I feel like as truck drivers, we let our health go because we can’t always get home when we want to get home. We put our own health on the back burner. We’re out to turn the wheels and we let our health go. We need to be doing self-exams. I actually found my lump myself by mistake. My bra was bothering me one day and I happened to take it off and when I took it off, I found this lump. The best we can do for ourselves out here is take care of ourselves first. That was a big wake up call for me. Early detection is everything.”
When breast cancer is detected early on, you have more options for treatment and your chance of survival is higher. Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years. It’s also worth noting that according to Johns Hopkins Medical center, 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump.
“When I was a company driver, I didn’t get to the doctors like I should have,” Kim said. “I always had to turn my wheels and I had to be making money. I couldn’t afford to take a lot of time off and I always, always put my own health on the back burner. Now, after going through my battle and surviving breast cancer, it’s very important for me to get the word out that there are things truckers can do out here while they’re working to take care of their own health and bodies. Self-exams are important, and eating healthy and moving our bodies are key factors.”
Read our previous interview with Kim, “Kim Loescher Talks Transitioning from Company Driver to Owner Operator.”