“I knew this wasn’t like other times I had been called back,” she said. “My imaging navigator and radiologist were very frank with me. They showed me images they were concerned about.” Then came their diagnosis: “We think this is an early cancer.”
Cook said she has always been proactive and dedicated to getting annual mammograms. Experts expect a greater number of many cancers since the start of the pandemic. They advise women perform regular breast self-examination and receive annual mammograms, starting at age 40, unless there is a family history of breast cancer.
“You’re better off knowing you have cancer today than knowing tomorrow, because you have additional time for treatment. Women should be really vigilant and control any health care risks they can. A mammogram gives you some control.” For more information about mammograms, contact MercyOne Clinton Medical Center by calling 563-244-5642 or get information online at MercyOne.org/clinton.
Following her diagnosis, Cook spoke with people close to her and learned some had skipped their annual screening because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She took it upon herself to hold those women accountable to schedule an appointment. “It’s 10 minutes that can save your life,” she advised. “It was the key for me – going from no problem in March 2020 to early cancer in March 2021.”
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