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Don't delay your mammogram

Glenna Lovins is living proof that while breast cancer may be unpredictable, it’s still beatable. After a bout with the disease, she now preaches a message of early detection.

Glenna was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2016. She was 68 years old. She delayed her yearly mammogram during the busy holiday season — a decision she now regrets. The diagnosis shocked her, her husband, Jack, and daughter Beverly. With no family history of breast cancer, Glenna never expected the biopsy to confirm a cancer diagnosis.

She was immediately scheduled to see King’s Daughters surgeon Kevin Miller, M.D. A lump was found behind the right breast. She doesn’t recall much about that day, but she does remember Breast Health Navigator Debbie Alexander calming her and her husband. “Debbie was the light of my life that day,” Glenna said. “Everything she said and did was needed and appreciated.”

As it turns out, the lump revealed by the mammogram was actually three masses, which equaled baseball size. Dr. Miller removed the fast-growing masses. She lost a large part of her breast. Luckily though, the breast cancer was only stage 1.

Glenna had radiation five days a week for six weeks at Tri-State Regional Cancer Center with Terry Justice, M.D. No chemotherapy was needed. “I was so very fortunate. I only lost part of my breast and not any hair,” she said.

Glenna was fitted for a prosthetic bra at King’s Daughters Women’s Boutique at Identity Salon. “It gives me confidence and makes me feel better.”

There were days she thought the radiation was too much. She was so tired. “I told my family, I was tired of being tired,” she said.

She wanted to get back to exercising and camping with family. “I had a camping trip planned before I was diagnosed,” she said. “The day after I finished radiation, I took that camping trip.” During her journey, Glenna’s thoughts turned to a dear friend, Janet Clark, who passed away eight years prior.

“Janet would call to ask me if I had scheduled my exam,” Glenna said. In Janet’s memory, Glenna schedules her mammogram each year. “I owe her my life.”