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Hampton County Breast Cancer Spotlight

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Hampton Regional Medical Center would like to celebrate breast cancer survivors in our hospital community and in Hampton County. Please see the below personal accounts of breast cancer survivors, and learn how early detection was key in their success. Hopefully these words of wisdom will inspire others to get regular screenings and help raise awareness in the Hampton community. As always, we at HRMC are here to help. Contact the radiology department at 843-943-1203 to schedule your mammogram today.

Janine Terry - 48

As a 41 yr. old mother of three and a full time professional in the IT world, Breast Cancer was not on my to-do list. My Mother died at 43 after her Breast cancer battle so I knew that mammograms were very important, and I faithfully attended my annual checkups. One November morning in the shower I felt something odd. I had just received a clear report from my April mammogram, but contacted my Family Provider anyway. He sent me to HRMC for a mammogram and my worst nightmare was confirmed. I had a fast growing aggressive form of Breast Cancer.

From there I went on to Charleston for a double mastectomy and was able to get my port placed and receive all my chemo treatments in Hampton, saving me, my family and friends multiple long trips out of town for miserable treatments. I can say that if it were not for the quick actions of myself and my providers, I would not have been able to enjoy important milestones with my family. Highschool and College graduations, a wedding and the birth of my 1st grandson just to name a few.

I continue to work with my providers and monitor my situation and have been cancer free for five years. I can't stress enough how important early detection is as well as taking the time to proactively ensure your health remains the best it can be. You are your best advocate.

Debbie Elrod - 66

In December of 2018 my middle daughter went in for her annual physical. The doctor felt a lump in her breast and told her they needed to schedule a mammogram to have it checked out. It was cancer. Shocked doesn't even describe the feeling.

Then 2020 happened. In February, Covid hit the nation, April, EF-4 tornado hits Hampton County and in July, breast cancer hits me. On July 1st I went in for my annual mammogram at Hampton Regional Medical Center. HRMC had just received a new mammogram machine and I was one of the first people to be screened and the first person to be diagnosed. When the tech called me that afternoon and said something showed up and I needed a diagnostic mammogram, I didn't worry. I told myself it was nothing. This was scheduled for July 6th. The biopsy was taken that same day. A few days later my doctor at Coastal Plains called to confirm what I was trying hard to pass off as nothing. I remember Dr. Horry's words like it was yesterday. "Debbie, I don't have good news." At that moment my life changed. He already had me scheduled to see Dr Crace the next day to discuss surgery options. My first surgery was July 20th. I was diagnosed with stage 2B cancer of the right breast. Meaning, the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. This meant a second surgery to remove all the lymph nodes. After testing the cancerous tumor, it was determined I did not need chemotherapy, so after 33 radiation treatments I am doing well.

If you ask me how I fell; I feel grateful. First, I'm grateful to God for the technology and wisdom given to my health care providers. Second, I am grateful to all those who have gone before me enduring unimaginable suffering, allowing medical science to learn more in this ever-changing breast cancer world. They are all heroes in my book. Third, I am grateful for family and friends that helped me along this journey. Without their support I would not have been able to stand.

My Anchor Holds On The Solid Rock

Stacey Stokes - 40

I was 35 with a very small lump. The lump was underneath my arm for almost a year. I didn't really think much of it. When I went for my yearly female physical, I mentioned it to my doctor. She recommended a mammogram because of my family history of breast cancer, just to be sure it was not anything. Although the recommended age of getting yearly mammograms is age 40. The report came back as a cyst and to follow up again with another mammogram in 6 months.

I did what was recommended with a different radiologist at another facility. No change, still small, and still thinking it's nothing to be concerned about. The radiologist decided to go ahead and recommended a biopsy, just to be safe. The radiologist said himself that he thought it was probably nothing. Four days later the radiologist called me, and he was shocked to say it came back as ductal carcinoma. It was a very early stage, stage 0. At the age of 35 with two young kids at that time, hearing the word CANCER was definitely one of the scariest words to hear, even when it was at an early stage. I knew my life was about to be different for a little while. Not once did I ever think negative. I was confident throughout this journey because I knew this was God's plan for me--just a little bump in my road.

So almost a month later, I had a lumpectomy followed by six weeks of radiation. No signs of any cancer in my lymph nodes. I got the all clear in Feb 2018. I'm still not released from my oncologist, yet. I follow up every year with my mammograms. I was also unsure if I should take tamoxifen. I decided to take it and I've been very fortunate to have no side effects.

I've been very blessed with support of family and friends throughout this entire journey and to have such a positive outcome. At the end of my breast cancer journey, 2 weeks after I finished my last radiation treatment, I found out I was pregnant. Everyone, including all my cancer healthcare team were in total shock and very surprised of this even happening because of having radiation every day for the past 6 weeks. But you know.. this was in God's plan for me as well. I will always believe things happen for a reason. There was a reason behind me experiencing breast cancer and it was all for me to have another baby who is thankfully healthy and will be four-years-old soon. A miracle blessing to our family. My advice is early detection is everything, as well as a second opinion. Always go with your instinct, and remember God is good all the time.❤️

Susanne Peeples - 62

In February 2022, I went for my yearly mammogram at HRMC. A week later I was notified I needed to come back for another mammogram and ultrasound. The mammogram showed something, but they could not really tell what it was. The radiologist and the ultrasound technician performed the ultrasound. They were awesome. They immediately asked me where I wanted to go, and I said Beaufort. Within days and weeks, I underwent a biopsy which determined a small spot the size of a grain of sugar in my milk duct. Then I had it removed, and it showed that spot to be invasive In Situ Ductal Carcinoma. I then went back two weeks later and only had to have two lymph nodes removed. Praise God the margins were all clear. I underwent 21 treatments of radiation and praise God I did well. I will go back in November for my Mammogram on the left side. Then I will go in February for my yearly screening.
I can only tell the women out there that a yearly mammogram is the key to early detection. Do not put it off. You do not need to be a certain age to have a mammogram. Breast Cancer knows no age. I cannot thank the Mammography Department at HRMC enough for all they did for me. They were on top of things and got me to the Keyserling cancer center for the treatment I needed.
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