Breast Cancer Awareness Month: The importance of yearly mammogram screenings

National News

NEW YORK — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. About one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. 

While the pandemic led to many women skipping their annual mammogram, one Queens resident didn’t let that stop her from getting her yearly screening.

It was a decision that saved her life. 

East Elmhurst resident Michelle Robinson said she wasn’t too sure about her future when she found out devastating news after a routine mammogram earlier this year.

The 67-year-old was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and needed to have surgery immediately. 

Despite the shocking news, she said she feels fortunate because her condition was caught early. 

After losing her mom 35 years ago at age 67 from multiple myeloma and her dad at the age of 91 from prostate cancer 10 years ago, Robinson said she refused to let the pandemic discourage her from getting her yearly mammogram.

Yet despite the early detection, Michelle was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, which is more prevalent in black women. 

According to Sarah Cate of Mt. Sinai, most breast cancers are slow growing, but 10 to 15% of them are triple negative breast cancers.

Fortunately, Robinson’s tumor was small, and after undergoing a lumpectomy, six rounds of chemotherapy over a course of four months, she’s on track to complete five weeks of radiation next week. 

She credits her faith, the staff at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, family and friends for helping her through the ordeal.

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