The ubiquity and devastation of breast cancer is often told through statistics, but photographer Angelo Merendino is changing that today with his photo series called The Battle We Didn't Choose: My Wife's Fight With Breast Cancer. One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, and in 2013 an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed. A recent report from Sweden says that incidence of breast cancer is increasing in the developing world, and late diagnosis is leading to lower survival rates. But these numbers don't telegraph the heart of the matter — the devastation that the disease brings to bodies and individuals and families.
Merendino's wife Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer five months after they were married, and he documented her battle with the disease until she passed away at age 40. Of the battle, he says:
Sadly, most people do not want to hear these realities and at certain points we felt our support fading away. Other cancer survivors share this loss. People assume that treatment makes you better, that things become OK, that life goes back to “normal.” However, there is no normal in cancer-land. Cancer survivors have to define a new sense of normal, often daily. And how can others understand what we had to live with everyday?
These photos will make people understand.