Ladies, go get your mammograms

Millington Star editor Thomas Sellers Jr. embraces his mother, Alma.

Millington Star Editor Thomas Sellers Jr. embraces his mother, Alma.

br-cancer-awareness-monthFor years, I've read success stories of other women who have survived breast cancer.

My son, Thomas Sellers Jr., editor of The Millington Star, has documented the brave battle of women in Millington and Tipton County.

Their tales always made me go to the doctor for my annual checkup, but honestly I never thought I would be in their shoes.

Those women endured pain and suffering. But they also were encouraged by family, friends, their community and a higher power.

I went to get my annual mammogram this year on Aug. 22.

I've been going every year for 14 years. Since I turned 40 I've been getting my mammogram. This year was different because they saw a spot in my right breast. So, they brought me back in for a scheduled second mammogram on Sept. 9.

They sent me a letter right away that I needed to come back. They told me to go see my primary doctor. They made me another appointment. She told me I had a spot in my right breast.

She felt my breast and didn't feel anything. I always check my breasts once a month. I also didn't feel anything. So, I ended up having to go back for an ultrasound.

I went back the following Wednesday for that ultrasound. They did the ultrasound and it showed there wasn't any cancer. That was a great burden lifted off of me. That was a scare I wouldn't put on anybody.

All this took place at Regional One, the MED. I've been going there for the past 14 years to get my mammogram.

It's very important women go get their mammogram. I can't express that enough to ladies. Please go get your mammogram. If they say (age) 40—go. If you have to go before, please go.

Especially if your family has a history of breast cancer, you need to go before you turn 40. The earliest you can start is 18.

My doctors and their staff have educated me on it. From what they've taught me I do check myself every month. Since my scare I will go every six months for my exam.

It's very important to be educated. So ladies, go get your mammogram and learn. It takes only 15 minutes to do the whole test.

Fifteen minutes is nothing compared to going through a battle for your life, radiation, chemo, losing your hair. All that stuff can be prevented if you check yourself.

The doctors told me since I go so frequently, if I had cancer they would have caught in time. I go like I'm supposed to go. That was a big plus.

I have a friend who is 17 years cancer free. But she was almost in her fourth stage. They got it and she's still living. But her arm is swollen tremendously. It's going to be that way for the rest of her life because they had to take so many of her lymph nodes out. She didn't go get her mammogram. And she was 58 when she got it. Now she's 66. It's very important.

She had a niece who was diagnosed the same time she was. She died and she was only in her 30s. So ladies, go get it.

Written by Alma Sellers, special to the Express.