Breast cancer survivor urges annual mammograms during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.(WCAX)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 10:34 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when patients, survivors, and doctors remember the struggles and triumphs of their journeys.

According to the CDC, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, but just because it’s the most common doesn’t mean it’s an easy battle.

Midlands mother of three, Lanalle Darden, knows this firsthand.

Darden was working full-time and enrolled in a Ph.D. program when she learned the news of her diagnosis. She says it came as a surprise as it was only her second mammogram.

With everything she had on her plate, Darden says she worried whether she’d be able to handle treatment as well.

“So of course, you know, I was very concerned,” said Darden. “Having a support system is everything. I do not think that I would have been able to do it without my support system.”

Both Darden and one of her doctors, Prisma Health surgical oncologist Dr. Julian Anthony Kim, say having a strong support system of family, friends, and a team of doctors is so important in the fight against breast cancer.

Darden says it was Breast Cancer Awareness month that reminded her to get her yearly mammogram and she urges other women to use the month of October as a reminder as well.

“The important thing is that it reminds of how brave women are and families are that face this disease, and how many success stories there have been… and stories of resilience and grit,” said Dr. Kim.

Dr. Kim urges regular mammograms as well as a form of early detection. He says breast cancer is a treatable disease and chances of successful treatment are heightened when the disease is detected in the early stages.

Here’s how to improve your chances of staying healthy, according to the American Cancer Society:

  • Perform regular monthly self-exams
  • Begin yearly mammogram screenings at age 45, or earlier depending on medical and family history
  • Maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle
  • Limit alcohol use and smoking

Darden completed reconstructive surgery and about six months of treatment and is now in remission. She successfully beat breast cancer and earned her Ph.D., which Dr. Kim says is a testament to her strength and perseverance.

For more information about breast cancer, your personal risk factors and prevention, and early detection, visit ACS Breast Cancer Early Detection Recommendations.

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