Two-Time Survivor Shares Value of Annual Screening
With the support of family, friends, physicians, nurses, and fellow breast cancer patients, Shelley Sunday is a two-time survivor. Upon self-examination, Sunday felt no lumps of any size and didn’t notice signs of anything concerning. However, when fulfilling her annual screening mammogram, a ductal carcinoma was discovered. Finding cancer in its earliest stage is critical. For Sunday, this principle led to successful treatment at Dupont Hospital and quality care closer to home at Lutheran Health Network’s KCH Cancer Care Center in Warsaw.
“The Lutheran Health Network team of specialists are truly incredible,” Sunday stated. “They made every effort to walk me through what was going on and explain to me, as a patient, every detail in layman’s terms. I valued this significantly.”
Two years later, a second run-in with cancer occurred, this time in the opposite breast. After noticing that her left nipple appeared to be slightly retracted, an MRI was ordered after no sign of cancer appeared on an earlier mammogram. The results of the MRI confirmed a very small irregularity. The results of a follow-up biopsy confirmed a very small but aggressive cancer tumor forming in her left breast. After surgery at Dupont Hospital and follow-up radiation and chemotherapy treatments at KCH’s Cancer Care Center, Sunday was cancer-free.
“I had a great team in my corner who truly cared for me,” Sunday said. “I had the opportunity to grow close to the nurses providing my care and was able to talk to them about anything – especially the things I feared that were part of my overall journey. It was very clear how much everyone cared for me and how much they wanted to see me succeed.”
After two impactful experiences with breast cancer, Sunday stresses the importance of being conscious about your body - adding that, if something is not right, seek care immediately. The best form of defense is early detection. For women at average risk, scheduling a yearly mammogram is encouraged beginning between ages 40 and 44. Women ages 45-54 should have a yearly mammogram, while women 55 and older have the option to adjust their mammograms to every other year.
“Make it a priority for yourself to practice self-examination, get your annual mammogram, watch for changes or something that does not look right, and NEVER put off your personal care,” Sunday concluded.