Cancer survivor urges women to talk to doctors

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Every October, we spot products and storefronts decked retired successful pink; 5Ks and fundraisers with that signature ribbon.

The value of Breast Cancer Awareness Month cannot beryllium understated, particularly the connection astir yearly bosom crab screenings.

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Morning Insider Lauren Victory shares a almighty communicative astir suburban pistillate whose mammogram didn’t spell acold enough.

“I was ne'er truthful excited for a birthday,” said Cheryl Fortier, of Frankfort.

Her 50th day bash was a bound to beryllium a blast, but the solemnisation was other peculiar due to the fact that it was thing she might’ve antecedently taken for granted.

“Having a crab diagnosis, and conscionable going done what I went through, it conscionable changes your position connected conscionable each day,” Fortier said.

Her communicative begins successful Summer 2020, astatine her yearly mammogram screening.

“Of course, you person a small anxiety. You’re praying you person bully results,” Fortier said.

And she did person bully results. The mammogram showed nary growths. Everything seemed fine.

Not truthful fast, thought Dr. Miraj Shah-Khan, from Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital.

“Upon reviewing her imaging, it was wide that she had precocious mammogramic density,” Dr. Shah-Khan said.

(Photo provided to CBS)

That’s different mode of saying Fortier had dense bosom tissue. It shows up achromatic connected mammograms. Dr. Shah-Khan, a bosom surgical oncologist, explains a mammogram tin spot easier done gray, fatty areas that marque up astir breasts. Something could beryllium hiding successful the denser achromatic spots.

So, the doc ordered an ultrasound of Fortier’s breasts, which uses a antithetic instrumentality and technology. Lo and behold, that trial revealed a mass.

(Photo provided to CBS)

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“You tin intelligibly spot it basal retired wrong this spot of different mean bosom tissue,” said Dr. Shah-Khan.

It was Stage One bosom cancer. Who knows however overmuch it could’ve grown and wherever it could’ve dispersed if not caught until Fortier’s adjacent mammogram, which would person been a twelvemonth later.

A travel up MRI confirmed the tumor.

“Dr. Shah-Khan, fundamentally her being an advocator for my wellness and being specified an astonishing surgeon, she saved my life. I archer her that each clip I spot her,” said Fortier, who opted for a treble mastectomy aft the finding. She’d had a fewer biopsies from her breasts earlier (all turned retired benign), but didn’t privation to instrumentality her chances aft this malignant discovery.

The ma of 3 girls is present cancer-free. She’s sharing her blessed ending successful airy of a troubling statistic: astir 50% of women person dense bosom tissue, and whitethorn request a person look.

“It’s important for women to speech to their doctors astir their imaging,” said Dr. Shah-Khan.

It’s besides important that women 40 and implicit get bosom exams erstwhile a year.

Research has shown women with higher bosom density are astatine a higher hazard for processing bosom cancer.

A 2015 study recovered much rates of dense bosom insubstantial successful achromatic women than successful achromatic women.

Some bosom crab resources:

CDC On Breast Cancer Awareness

American Cancer Society On Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Susan G. Komen Foundation

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