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Breast cancer survivor speaks out

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BREAST CANCER 6PKG
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Do you know someone with breast cancer? Have you been diagnosed with it?

According to the CDC, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States and about 2,300 men are diagnosed each year.

"I did have total faith in the mammogram and that it would come back and show me if I had cancer or not," Kimberly Stratman said. "I did find out later on, they're not 100 percent. It's a good screening tool, and does catch some cancer."

But Kimberly Stratman, a stage II breast cancer survivor says it didn't catch hers. She says she's been getting routine checks for years and they all came back negative for cancer, until she performed a self breast exam.

"If I wouldn't have done the self breast exam, I wouldn't be here today," Stratman explained.

She says because of her dense tissue the mammograms couldn't pick up any masses.

Blessing Breast Center Nurse Navigator, Jessica Nuebel, says that isn't uncommon. She says many factors can affect a mammogram's result…that's why doing them with self exams are important.

"In addition to palpating your breast for any lumps or anything abnormal, it's also important to do a visual inspection, standing undressed in front of the mirror looking for skin changes, dimpling, nipple changes," Nuebel said.

She says people should get mammograms yearly, and do self exams once a month on the same day because hormonal changes can also affect readings.

"Men and women alike should be familiar with their bodies and what their normal is," Nuebel added.

"Had I sat home and ignored it any longer…if I didn't find the lumps…I may not be here today, so you've got to listen to your body," Stratman added. "You got to check yourself anything that's not normal, please, please, please go check with a doctor."

Since Stratman's diagnoses, she has helped three other woman, whose breast cancer went undetected, find their lumps and start treatment.

Blessing medical professionals say you should contact your primary care physician if you suspect any change in your breast.

RESOURCES

Blessing Breast Center

CDC Breast Cancer FAQ's

CDC Breast Cancer Statistics

Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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