Take time for your preventive screenings…no matter how busy life is
By Florida Blue
September 03, 2021
Karen Fulton is a wife and a mother to two beautiful daughters. She is a Registered Nurse now working as a Director at Florida Blue in South Florida. Karen’s background and her personal experience have led her to be an advocate for prevention and early detection through regular mammograms.
In November 2018, I visited the Memorial Hospital Breast Cancer Center for my yearly routine mammogram. With a known history of dense breasts, I had chosen the 3D approach to my imaging and had been utilizing 3D for several years.
During this visit, a tiny nonpalpable denseness was noted and was determined to be an endocrine cyst. I was advised to return in six months for repeat images. After receiving my six-month reminder notice, I returned in June 2019 for repeat mammography and ultrasonic images.
This time the denseness had changed shape and revealed to be larger in size. The cyst as previously noted now manifested itself to be a concern for immediate follow-up to include a biopsy. I took this news seriously, was now able to feel the presence and scheduled an appointment quickly.
My biopsy was performed without hesitation, and I received the news that no woman wants to hear. I had Stage 1 invasive lobular carcinoma ER and PR positive, Hers2 negative. I immediately jumped into action, entered the breast cancer program at Memorial Healthcare where I selected a surgical oncologist.
My first decision was to go through a lumpectomy in combination with radiation therapy, but that changed after my surgeon recommended additional testing. As part of this journey, I was sent for a breast MRI, which showed two additional smaller lesions resting behind the original lesion.
My decision then changed to one of requiring a left mastectomy. I underwent the mastectomy in September 2019 and was very fortunate to find the cancer to be contained in only the breast tissue with no metastasis to lymph nodes and beyond had occurred. As luck would have it. post-surgery I learned that my journey would not have to include chemotherapy but only hormonal therapy for five years.
September marks my two-year survival anniversary and I have completed the final phase of reconstructive surgery. I am thankful for mammography imaging availability and encourage all women to follow through and to have your routine testing completed. An ounce of prevention, which is often not convenient in our busy, hectic lives, is worth a life being saved.