ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - For the month of October, Safe and Sound has been dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness. The four part series is called “Diagnosis to Victory.”
For Part 1, we focus on the initial diagnosis of breast cancer.
Mona Mccoy is a survivor.
She was in good health and decided to skip a mammogram in 2016 after having no issues with ones before.
Mccoy stressed how much of a mistake missing just one yearly breast exam changed her life forever.
“2017, I went to get my mammogram, and there was a notice of abnormality, and I was asked to come back and get a follow up visit,” she said.
This was different from previous appointments when she was given the all clear.
"So, anybody that gets a call from the nurse, it’s nerve racking and very anxious and stressful,” Dr. Shailaja Sappati said.
Sappati is over the Carlton Breast Center of Excellence at Phoebe Putney Health System.
She is the one who looks at the mammograms to determine if there is a problem that needs to be addressed. She also helps patients figure out the next steps in their process.
She says about 80 percent of the people that are called back have benign tumors, but that wasn’t the case for Mccoy.
“Because I waited, the cancer advanced, and I had a stage two diagnosis. I was upgraded to a stage three diagnosis,” she said.
Mccoy said receiving that diagnosis was humbling because she knows she could have taken action prior to this point.
“Once I received the diagnosis, it was very weighty, but I’m a person that’s kind of a shake it off and let’s get up and get moving and move on,” she said.
She said that it was only because of a strong support system from the nurses, her family and close friends that she was able to make it through.
Over the next three weeks, WALB will take a closer look at Mccoy’s journey, including that support system, the treatment process and the decisions she had to make for her body and the ultimate victory.
According to The National Breast Cancer Foundation, this type of cancer that will affect 1 in 8 U.S. women in their lifetime.
“I just cannot stress enough the importance of getting your annual mammogram, so that you can be able to know the status of your health, as soon as possible. Each year, to make sure that you can be proactive in your health management and not have to be on the journey and the adventure that I’ve been on in terms of a breast cancer diagnosis,” Mccoy said.