An estimated 192,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year with 40,000 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. Thanks to awareness and improved treatments, breast cancer deaths have steadily decreased in the last 20 years. Nancy Naeve Brown met a woman from Webster who is a 9 year breast cancer survivor who credits early detection and the great care at Avera St. Luke's Hospital in Aberdeen for saving her life.
Julie Delaney from Webster loves every moment that includes time with her sister Carla Hoffman and a good cup of coffee. Julie no longer takes any of life's little blessings for granted. Nine years ago after a routine mammogram and needle biopsy, doctors at Avera St. Luke's discovered Julie had early stage breast cancer.
Julie says, "Right away I knew I wanted to do a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. I knew right away and I was lucky that I did because a spot showed up on pathology that didn't show up on the mammogram. They told me it was a medical miracle to have made that decision."
Dr. Jean Gerber with Gerber Professional Associates in Aberdeen was Julie's surgeon. She says, "Julie had a very large area or multiple sets of calcification and the concern was it wouldn't be adequate if we did a lumpectomy because it would involve all the areas that we were concerned about based on the mammogram."
Julie says, "I feel like the radiologists here at the hospital saved my life because they found it."
Because the pathology report showed a Stage 1 cancer vs. Stage 0, two weeks after her mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, Julie had to have a second surgery to remove more lymph nodes. Thankfully, the cancer had not spread so she didn't need chemo or radiation.
Julie says, "The doctors and everyone here at the hospital, I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. They are absolutely wonderful. I put my life in their hands and did everything they said and they're just wonderful. I had the best care and family support."
A Lot of that support came from her sister, her husband and her daughter, but she also considers her care providers at Avera St. Luke's part of that extended family too.
Julie goes in for check-up's every 6 months and has blood work done and says she is doing great. She really wants to impress upon all of us women to be diligent about self-exams and annual mammogram's.