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Breast cancer survivor tells her story and talks breast cancer awareness

By ALLISON NORLIAN

WEST WINFIELD, N.Y. (WKTV) -  Breast cancer is a disease that affects one in eight women, and the month of October brings awareness to the disease. Erin Reed, a West Winfield woman is currently battling breast cancer and hopes women take preventative measures to catch the disease early.

Reed was diagnosed in April with stage three breast cancer, she is only 35 years old. She said she could have never imagined being diagnosed with breast cancer let alone at her age, " I was scheduled to have my yearly mammogram and I was supposed to have it in February. I put it off a few months and I woke up one day in April and I had a large lump in my left breast."

Reed went to work but within a few hours she had another swollen lump, but in her armpit. She called her doctor who took her immediately, and who questioned the lumps and sent Reed for an ultrasound.

"He didn't like the looks of it on the ultra sound and sent me to have a biopsy two days later of the lump, Reed said, he wasn't sure what was going on."

The doctor's biopsied the lump on a Friday and on a Monday Reed found out she had stage three cancer, " The first month was full of doctor appointments,  I didn't know when I woke up in the morning what appointment I was going to go to."

After a month of multiple tests, doctor's discovered another lump in Reed's breast, forcing her to get a single mastectomy.

Once surgery was done, Reed was onto chemotherapy and sometime in the near future, she will be receiving radiation, " To know you have cancer growing inside of you and it was still there I was at a point where I needed to get surgery right away or chemo therapy right away because I was nervous I had cancer inside of me and that it could be spreading."

Reed hopes to inspire other women to be proactive about their breast health not only in October, but all year long. If caught early, women have a 95-97% survival rate.

Suzanne Burns, Nurse Navigator at Faxton St. Lukes Hospital said yearly mammograms, clinical breast exams and self exams are all important for every woman to do, "  We have to be diligent. Make sure they are doing what they are doing to follow through with that and not being hesitant to do something early. Unfortunately sometimes we find women just wait."

Both Reed and Burns said many women are scared of mammograms, Reed's response to that is, " Its better to go get your mammogram, get tested do what you have to get done then to find out  that you have an advanced stage of cancer."

The Cancer Services Program has money available to help people get screened. Uninsured and under insured women should call 798-5248 to see if you are eligible for a free mammogram.
 
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