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Two words — breast cancer — evoke a range of emotions.

Spoken to a patient following a biopsy, they can prompt fear, sadness, depression.

Spoken by a survivor following treatment and healing, the words — like the disease — lose their power to harm. Defeat of the disease empowers those who struggled, survivors tell us.

Five breast cancer survivors shared their experiences with the News and Tribune for the 2017 edition of Power of Pink:

• Sisters SHEILA MEREDITH and SUSAN HIGDON say they were always together when they were growing up. They were together in battling breast cancer, too. Now, they make blankets — together, of course — for cancer patients through Fillies Blankets of Hope.

• Two-time cancer survivor PATSY DAWSON says she is a better person now, after beating back lymphoma and, years later, breast cancer.

• Following cancer surgery, MELISSA DELUCA found her happy place — the beach — thanks to her husband, who whisked her away to a Jamaican resort.

• The last place anyone wants to spend their birthday is in the doctor's office. But that's exactly where ANDREA VANMETER found herself on her 44th birthday.

These stories reflect the courage of their tellers, who serve as an inspiration to other women and men knocked on their keisters by breast cancer, but who get up and fight to live.

We are grateful to the survivors for sharing their journeys through cancer with us, so that we might share them with you, our readers.

Also included in this year's Power of Pink series are stories on genetic testing, blankets of comfort, the upcoming fundraising gala and much more. 

Follow newsandtribune.com all week for these stories, or pick up a copy of the paper on Wednesday. 

As always, your feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading!