Wanda Martin, 44, is adamant that early detection of breast cancer can save a woman’s life.
Thanks to an early detection based on a mammogram Wanda had in 2010, her breast cancer was detected at a very early stage and she is doing well today.
Her story with cancer begins in 2008
“ I turned 40 in October 2008 and thought it was time to have my first mammogram. I had been feeling fine and had not detected any lumps in my breast but I just felt it was something I should do now that I was at this stage in my life.”
However, the doctor Wanda was seeing at the Connaigre Health Care Centre in Harbour Breton said that she should wait another two years for her mammograms as he felt she was too young to have the procedure done at 40.
“So, I waited two years and went back to see him in October 2010. The appointment was made but because some of the original paperwork was mislaid, I did not actually have my mammogram until June 2011.
“The procedure showed a lump in my left breast about the size of an eraser on the top of a pencil. A second mammogram confirmed this first finding that meant I had to have a biopsy done to determine if the lump was cancerous or benign.
“The biopsy showed that I was in Stage One of Ductal Carcinoma Institu Cancer which meant it was in Stage one in my milk duct in the breast.”
Wanda and her family were really surprised with the finding as she had been feeling fine up to this point, and she seemed to be the picture of health.
However, her world was now in a tailspin and she had to make a very important decision, a choice that might have consequences for the rest of her life.
“I had to decide whether I should have the lump removed or have the entire breast amputated. My doctor in Grand Falls Windsor talked about the pros and cons of either choice but in the end I decided to have my breast removed. I felt this was s the best step as if the cancer returned I would have to go through the whole mammogram procedure again and would probably need to have the breast removed at some later date anyway.”
And, as it turned out Wanda apparently did make the right decision in having her breast removed. She was informed during her first checkup after the procedure that the cancer had spread about four mm outside the milk duct in her breast.
By having her breast removed at such an early stage Wanda avoided any radiation or chemotherapy treatments. Following the operation, she has to take a Tamoxifen pill once a day for a five-year period.
She has a check-up every three months and a mammogram every six months so that professionals can monitor her condition.
“My life has changed since my cancer and operation. I don’t take life for granted now and I try to live every day to the fullest. I can do most things that women my age can do but I still need to make sure I exercise my left arm.
“I get my strength from my eight year old son who has helped to make me stronger following this time in my life. I have a wonderful partner who has helped me tremendously in this matter too. I need to be strong for them as well as for myself.”
Wanda said that she is looking forward to having plastic surgery completed this fall which will involve a breast implant. She noted that the procedure, when completed, will make her feel better emotionally about the entire issue.
And what would Ms. Martin recommend to her lady friends regarding having a mammogram as early as possible?
“Believe it or not, some of my friends refuse to have a mammogram because they feel fine physically. They feel that there’s no need to have the procedure when they can’t feel any lumps in their breasts.
“But, I’m living proof that early detection can save lives. I sincerely feel that all women should have a mammogram as soon as they can as early detection is important.”