Self-Exam and Mammography Leads to Early and Positive Outcome in Breast Cancer Fight

Patsy Jones considers the events in April this year “divine intervention.” On a Tuesday, she rolled her ankle and fractured her foot. She scheduled an orthopedic evaluation for two days later and found a lump in her breast that morning during a self-exam in her shower.

Patsy, 63, has worked in radiology at Decatur Memorial Hospital for 42 years. For the past 30 years, she has worked as a registered CT tech (computerized tomography). She is also a caregiver for her 87-year-old mother. At the time she rolled her ankle, life was busy. But the foot slowed her down just long enough to make an important discovery.

“I had to slow down. I was able to do what I needed to do – a self-exam – in the shower and found a lump,” she said. “I got out of the shower and immediately called my family doctor.”

She had a mammogram on Friday which looked suspicious and had an ultrasound right after. From there, she was scheduled for a biopsy and was diagnosed with papillary breast cancer within a week.

“We have such a great team,” Patsy said. “They all worked together and they not only showed their professionalism but also their humanity. That’s something you don’t always get from everyone. I do believe they are that good across the board, not just because I work there.”

She went through radiation for 21 days and cherished the interactions she had with other women going through treatment at the same time.

“I met a lot of strong women from all walks of life,” she said. “Seeing them come out as I was going in and exchanging greetings and encouragement. That, for me, was very rewarding.”

Patsy finished radiation on July 5 and went back August 2 for an “all clear.” At the end of August, she went on a cruise with her husband, three sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. She credits her faith, her family and friends, including her work team, with encouraging her through the whirlwind diagnosis and treatment.

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