October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month where we remember the women we have lost and honor the women still fighting the battle. One of those fighters is 57 year old Lynn Rearden.
Rearden has battled cancer off and on since she was 40 years old. She was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After six months of chemotherapy, she got the news she was finally in remission.
Rearden continued working as a registered nurse at Edgefield County Hospital. She began getting screened for breast cancer when she turned 50 years old.
At age 53, Rearden got the devastating news, she had breast cancer. Rearden remained positive though. The mammogram caught it early and her treatment consisted of a lumpectomy and radiation.
"I would not have felt mine until it was invasive and then I would have been facing probably chemotherapy," Rearden said.
She praises the mammogram for finding the breast cancer before it spread.
But one study published earlier this year argues that death rates from breast cancer were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not. The British Medical Journal conducted one of the largest studies of mammography ever done. It involved 90,000 women and lasted a quarter-century.
Tiffany Winslow is a breast cancer nurse at Palmetto Health Breast Center who says roughly 70 percent of the patients in a study they recently completed, found out they had breast cancer through mammograms. She believes mammograms are necessary for early detection. She says the longer you wait to get screened, the greater the chances of going through chemotherapy as opposed to a quick surgery and radiation.
"Because of the advancement that we have in screening, we use digital so sometimes we can catch it when it's still contained, meaning it doesn't have the ability to spread," Winslow said.
Rearden has been getting routine mammograms since her first battle with breast cancer. This past week, she got more bad news.
"So I had the PET Scan and nothing showed up on the right but the breast I had cancer in, in the left, lit up again," Rearden said.
Rearden is waiting for more test results to come in next week. But she says she cannot imagine not getting routine mammograms because without them, she may not be alive.