Local cancer survivors talk importance of early detection

Local cancer survivors talk importance of early detection.

Every October, Americans across the world recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Making strides against breast cancer starts with you.

Peggy Brown was diagnosed earlier this year.

"Right now I'm taking radiation therapy to prevent from having it again," Breast cancer survivor Peggy Brown said.

"You know your body better than anybody and if you don't pay attention to the signs, you could already be at a stage 2, 3, or 4 cancer," Pat Carpenter, who's battled two types of cancer, said.

Carpenter said although she's never dealt with breast cancer, she has experienced cervical cancer and a tumor in her breast.

"My husband noticed that one breast was larger than the other," Carpenter said. "I had not noticed because I was not participating in self examinations, which are very important for women."

Both women said mammograms can reduce the risk, catching the disease early.

"They could not even stage it because it was caught so early," Brown explained.

Health experts also encourage self-examinations and to look out for changes.

"I wholeheartedly believe in self examinations and now we're encouraging women to do them younger," Carpenter said.

Monitoring your body can be a life-changing experience. Brown is now going through radiation therapy.

"It's just a few minutes of radiation and I'm out of here and I go on with my life," Brown said.

No matter if you're just beginning your breast cancer battle, or are in recovery, it's important to stay strong through the process.

"As the song said, 'I'm not defined by my hair,' I'm not defined by my breast either," Carpenter said.

Experts said some of the symptoms include any change in the size or shape of the breast, a new lump in the breast or underarm, and pain in any area of the breast.

Also, studies show besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.

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