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THE BATTLE AGAINST BREAST CANCER A special section of the Gallatin News Examiner and The Hendersonville Star News in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Convenience store worker Janice Smith keeps upbeat attitude

Early diagnosis key to fighting cancer


By Dessislava Yankova Sumner County Publications

Janice Smith is an inspiration to the customers who line up at 5 a.m. for the food she cooks at a convenience store in Hendersonville, not just because she can whip up tasty sandwiches, but because she refuses to give up in the face of a serious illness. For months after her April breast cancer diagnosis, customers would show up at the market wearing pink bandanas while she wore a red one to match her work uniform. They took so many pictures with her that the photos covered an entire wall. And when radiation treatments made her hair fall out, she approached it with humor, comparing herself to the antithesis of a wellknown character with bushy red locks. “She called herself ‘Backward Bozo the Clown’ because her hair was completely the opposite of his,” said Kandice Dixon, who lives with Smith.

Hospital helps guide patients through each step


Hair shops step in when locks begin to fall out


Keeping an appointment saved this woman’s life

Janice Smith, who is battling breast cancer, cooks at the Twice Daily in Hendersonville, where colleagues say she’s a blessing. DESSISLAVA YANKOVA/SUMNER COUNTY PUBLICATIONS

“She laughed at it all. And she has joked about the whole thing.” Smith shaved her head in July with the help of her daughter. A chunk fell out on its own without the help of the razor, but Smith saw it as less work for everyone. “I said, ‘Well, I guess you don’t have to hit that spot.’ I say laugh; it’s

better than crying, and I figure, since it grows back, there’s nothing really to freak out about,” she said. “Just bring a bandana, wear a wig and go about your day.” It’s an attitude Smith has embraced all her life, even before she


Local nurse’s self-exam catches cancer twice


Health centers offer comprehensive care


The fight against cancer begins with you. TN-0000939841




First mammogram reveals second cancer diagnosis Finding it early increases odds of positive outcome By Hollie Deese For Sumner County Publications

When Rosetta Howard went to her doctor for an annual checkup this year, at 43, she was advised to get her first mammogram. “I was expecting it to be no big deal,” she said. “Well, it was a big deal.” When the results came back, the doctors at Imaging for Women at Sumner Station in Gallatin had concerns. She underwent both initial screening and diagnostic mammograms, then was advised to have a biopsy. “And when I had the biopsy done, that is when I found the cancer cells,” she said. The pathology report came back with results of infiltrating ductal carcinoma with ductal carcinoma in situ, an early form of breast cancer. If she had waited another year to have a mammogram, the cancer could have spread significantly. And while the diagnosis was shocking, it wasn’t Howard’s first bout with the disease. When she battled uterine cancer 10 years ago, she had a hysterectomy that left her unable to have children. Her mother also fought cervical and lung cancer, eventually dying from complications of the latter. “My first thought was ‘Oh God, not again,’ ” she said. “I leaned very heavily on my faith.” She also leaned heavily on her sister, Felicia Momberger, who lives in Gallatin and works at Sumner Regional Medical Center, where Howard is undergoing treatment. Howard’s sister was with her when she was diagnosed, and was the first person she called when she began chemotherapy. “We have sister dates all the time,” Howard said. “After our mom died, we made a pact that we would not allow life, and the business of life, to keep us from making each other a priority. And so we make a visible effort

Gallatin native Rosetta Howard, 43, who is battling breast cancer, holds on to her Maltese dog. A photo on the wall shows Howard before she was diagnosed with the disease in April 2013. DESSISLAVA YANKOVA/SUMNER COUNTY PUBLICATIONS

to make sure we call each other, text each other, go see each other.” Another friend, a nurse, also moved in with Howard to take care of her after her treatments — help that makes her feel “very blessed.” Howard, who is unmarried, has continued working for the state as a probation parole officer through her treatments, which she schedules so she will miss as little work as possible. She might plan it for a Thursday afternoon, for example, so she only has to take off Friday, with the whole weekend to recover for her return Monday. “When you are single, there

is nobody behind you helping you pay the bills,” she said. “If you don’t work, you don’t make the house payment. You don’t have groceries.” Howard has finished a round of chemotherapy and is about to begin radiation. Her hair is just a bit of fuzz now and she has taken to wearing scarves. But despite the hardship, she is quick to express gratitude that the mammogram caught the cancer early. “It can save your life,” she said. “Had I waited another year to have the mammogram, they would have been treating tumors and it would have been a totally different outcome.”

WHAT IS BREAST CANCER? Cancer that forms in tissues of the breast. The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma, which begins in the lining of the milk ducts, the thin tubes that carry milk from the lobules of the breast to the nipple. Another type of breast cancer is lobular carcinoma, which begins in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast. Invasive breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread from where it began in the breast ducts or lobules to surrounding normal tissue.

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THE ROLE OF THE BREAST HEALTH NAVIGATOR » Understanding diagnosis and available treatment options » Understanding what resources are available » Overcoming barriers and coordinating care with the entire health-care team, including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic surgeons, genetic counselors, support groups, dieticians, physical/lymphedema therapists and radiologists » Understanding medications » Connecting patients with outside resource centers such as the American Cancer Society, PearlPoint cancer support, YMCA ABC program, Susan G. Komen, and Gilda’s Club for group support and breast cancer-related products —Source: Sarah Cannon TriStar HCA



Navigator aids breast cancer patients Hospital aims to provide a guide through each step By Hollie Deese For Sumner County Publications

When women are expecting a baby, there is no shortage of help, guidance and advice to get them through each and every step, from conception to birth. In many cases, they have been planning for this moment. But for women who receive an abnormal reading on a mammogram or are stopped in their tracks by an unusual self-exam, there is no plan. TriStar, which operates Hendersonville Medical Center, is aiming to change all of that by moving toward having a breast health navigator on site at all of its facilities. Sarah Cannon, the oncology service line for Tri-

Star, is implementing navigators in the Nashville area and across all of their hospitals to help breast cancer patients from discovery to recovery. Trained in breast cancer care, navigators guide and support patients and their loved ones through it all, bringing together all multidisciplinary team members involved in a patient’s care. Mary Visceglia, the breast health navigator at the Hendersonville hospital, wants people to know right from the start that she is there to help. “I want someone not to be afraid of coming in for mammograms because of what the might find,” she said. “They will have a tremendous amount of support, regardless of the results, and someone is going to be with them every step of the way. My patients are extremely strong. And that’s probably the hardest part — you’re taking

any sort of decision-making out of this, and that’s what really throws them off.” Duties that fall into Visceglia’s day-to-day job can be anything from helping patients get their insurance pre-certified, helping them find a support group, talking with scared family members and even going with patients to follow-up appointments. Basically, anything they need. “The navigation part is quite literal,” Visceglia says. “I capture people when they are recommended for biopsies. I help them make the appointments. I find out if they are anxious and talk them through it, and let them know to expect. I want there to be no surprises.” If a patient’s biopsy is indeed cancer, Visceglia helps pair them with a surgeon. “Most of the referrals come from the primary care physician, but I will touch base with

Sumner woman fights cancer »INSPIRATION FROM 1C was diagnosed. Her colleagues at the Twice Daily store off New Shackle Island Road said they hope to end up sharing shifts with her each week. “She’s amazing,” coworker Jennifer Ferrell said. “Even before she got sick, you’d always want to be here working with Janice. She dances around, speaks in different accents and makes work fun. She’ll do anything for you. She’ll do anything for anybody.”

‘Best news’ Before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the most serious medical condition Smith had endured was a benign cyst that was removed from her ovary in 2012. Still, the news wasn’t that surprising to her. “Both sides of my family are loaded with pretty much every kind of cancer,” she said. Pancreatic cancer killed her father in 2006. Her mother battled breast cancer in 2009,

though she died the next year from heart failure. Cousins, uncles, aunts and a grandfather have also faced the disease. Because of its prevalence in her life, Smith does not fear the word “cancer.” “I’ve heard cancer so much in my life, I said, ‘Oh well, let’s kick its butt,’ ” she said. Despite her family history, Smith said tests showed her cancer was not genetic, a revelation she referred to as “wild.” She thought of her daughter and granddaughter, and was ecstatic that they might avoid enduring the same hardship. “That’s about the best news I heard from all of it,” she said.

Chemotherapy Doctors removed a tumor in June and tests showed the cancerous cells had not spread. They also removed three lymph nodes under her right arm, where one cancerous microcell was detected. As a precaution, Smith began four rounds of chemotherapy in July. The procedures have

them either before or during that first appointment if they need any MRIs,” she said. “The physician’s office will often ask me to help facilitate scheduling those.” If patients need chemo, she spends time talking with them about the side effects and helps them find an understanding place to get a wig. Post-mastectomy, Visceglia helps them find the right place to get the necessary undergarments. “I go to at least a couple of their first follow-ups with the surgeon just to see if there’s anything I can help with,” she said. “Back in the day, there would be one or two doctors who would be involved. Now, even under the best of circumstances, you are talking about up to five if you go to the plastic surgeon at some point. I am someone they can always call with a question.”

ONLINE See video of Janice Smith at HendersonvilleStarNews and

anice Smith, who is battling breast cancer, often jokes with her supervisor Jim Fitzgerald that he’s no longer winning “the sexiest bald head contest.” DESSISLAVA YANKOVA/SUMNER COUNTY PUBLICATIONS

drained her energy and appetite. “Right when you start feeling good again and get your appetite back, they zap you back down,” Smith said. “Everything would smell good, and I’d want to eat, but as soon as I put it in my mouth, it tastes like sour glue. ... It’s like trying to get rid of the worst flu you’ve ever

A new provider for our community Jennifer B. Fowler, ANP-BC,MSN

had.” She drinks a lot of liquids to supplement her diet, has lost feeling in her fingertips and might lose her nails soon. In general, she feels like “crud,” she said. “My colleagues help me a lot because I have to sit down a few times a day,” Smith said. “(My energy) is slowly coming back.”

But colleague Heather Hesson said rather than being a burden, Smith has energized her coworkers. “She’s one of the most uplifting persons I know,” she said. “Even while she’s going through it, she says, ‘Is there anything I can do to help you?’ ” Working with Smith is “like being on a trip to Disneyland” because she is so fun to be around, and the support from customers has been “absolutely amazing,” said her supervisor Jim Fitzgerald. “You’d have to see it to believe it,” he said. “She hasn’t changed a bit. The illness has not affected her mind, personality and sense of humor one bit. She’s a fun, loving, optimistic, charismatic individual.” Reach Dessislava Yankova at 575-7170 or

TriStar Medical Group Hendersonville Medicine Associates is pleased to announce the addition of Jennifer B. Fowler, ANP-BC, MSN,

to its team of qualified medical providers. With a passion for Women’s Health, Jennifer is focused on preventative health screenings for women starting at age 16. Call today to set up an appointment! 615-822-6701






Feeling like yourself again Products meant to boost a woman’s appearance do so much more By Hollie Deese For Sumner County Publications

After the initial shock of a breast cancer diagnosis, many women have another concern: how will this affect my appearance? Sure, it seems shallow when you consider a life is on the line. But it can be just as jarring when your outward appearance so starkly shows the world what your body is battling on the inside. “I would say this is probably the most emotional part, other than finding out you have cancer, because this is what everybody physically is going to see of you,” said Clarissa Bearup of Bella Wigs in Mt. Juliet. “They don’t want to look different during the process of it.” Bella Wigs is a family-owned shop that has been in business

for more than 46 years. They field referrals from many area hospitals for women facing chemotherapy and radiation, and Bearup says about 60-70 percent of her clients are battling breast cancer. Bearup’s intimate cottage shop with more than 300 wigs on display is meant to put her clients at ease. After years of helping women reclaim a piece of themselves when so much is out of their control, she knows exactly what to do to make an emotional process as easy as possible. “The showroom has a tryingon station, but some women want that very private setting, so we do offer that, too,” she said. “I have a hairstylist here, so she is able to cut the wig and that’s included in the price.” Prices average about $160, which includes the cut, adjustment for a proper fitting and styling. “We want to make sure they have a proper fitting, because more than likely they will be wearing this for almost a year,” Bearup said. “We really walk

them through as far as some things to expect and things to consider. It is amazing to see their spirit because some come in with what is really a positive attitude to beat cancer, and then you have some who come here to just break down in tears.” One of the most important things for a woman who might lose her hair to consider, Bearup said, is getting the wig before the hair begins thinning and matting together to get a look most like their original hair. And if they have a support system, bring them along. “Our stylists will shave your head for free so there’s no charge for that, but some want their family members involved and they want to shave their heads for them,” she said. “And then we teach them how to put their wig on because that is very important.” And if women can never get the hang of it themselves, they can even drop the wig off every few weeks to have it styled on site. Chemotherapy doesn’t just affect the hair on your head


though, as women also lose their eyelashes, eyebrows and in some cases their nails. Friends of Sumner Regional Medical Center, a volunteer service of the Gallatin hospital, partnered with the American Cancer Society to help women handle those changes and boost self-esteem with their Look Good, Feel Better Program. Part support group, part beauty lesson, cosmetology professionals show women how take care of their skin, apply makeup, tie scarves and take care of their wigs and nails. At Essential Accents in Old Hickory, Krista Clark helps guide women who have had a mastectomy with bras, camisoles, prosthesis and custom, handmade breast forms for the most natural look. “If women come to see there’s something that they can wear instantly after surgery that will take care of the drainage tubes and will be easy for them to get into, that helps a little bit,” she said. From there, she can guide them through reconstruction and beyond.

Bella Wigs and Boutique 2584 N. Mt. Juliet Road, Mt. Juliet 615-288-4517 Essential Accents 810 Hadley Ave., Old Hickory 615-847-8000 Dean’s Wig Villa 115 Gallatin Pike, Madison 615-865-7414

Clark used to work in the plastic surgery department at Centennial Medical Center, so she knows exactly what women go through post-surgery. “If they have a prosthesis and can see what it looks like and how it feels in her bra, then they feel better,” she says. “When they leave after their fitting, you won’t be able to tell one breast from the other. I work very hard to make sure you are as symmetrical as possible. It makes it easier for the ladies going into surgery knowing what the future holds for them.”

Local resources American Cancer Society Cancer Answer Line: 1-800-ACS-2345, 327-0991


Sarah Cannon Cancer Centers

Gilda’s Club of Nashville

Sumner Cancer Center

Free gathering place for people with cancer, their families and friends. Call 329-1124 for more details.

In addition to treatment, the Sumner Cancer Center provides emotional, spiritual and educational support in a number of ways: » Dietary services SRMC’s dietitians are available to consult if treatments require a special diet. » SRMC TEAM - ACS Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk Each year, SRMC sponsors a team for this worthy fundraiser. For more information, contact Jodee Pinkston, Cancer Registry, at 328-5192. » Spiritual Support Chaplains are available for prayer and ministry. Call the hospital at 328-8888 and the on-duty chaplain can be paged. cancer-center-support.html

This program provides a cancer patient with the opportunity to work with an exercise specialist to address unique physical and mental needs during and after treatment with an individualized, progressive wellness program. Call 222-2056 for more information.


A Place to Call Home

The American Cancer Society offers transportation to and from treatments for Sumner County residents. Call 341-7319 for help, or to offer your services to drive others.

Middle Tennessee’s online community for cancer survivorship.


Gallatin resident Annette Downes, 68, a breast cancer patient, with her dog Dolly in May. Downes participated in the Look Good Feel Better program at Sumner Regional Medical Center that helps women deal with the side effects of cancer treatment. GALLATIN NEWS

Road to Recovery

Look Good, Feel Better A partnership between the Friends of Sumner Regional Medical Center and the American Cancer Society to help women deal with the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Cosmetology professionals walk women through makeup application, nail care, wig car and more each month at Sumner Regional Medical Center. Call 328-5517 for more details.

PearlPoint Cancer Support Call 467-1936 for a one-stop resource for reliable cancer treatment and support information.

Portland Breast Cancer Support Group For information on meetings, please contact Janice Ferrett at Portland City Hall, 325-6776., 342-1725

Relay for Life events Relay for Life of Sumner-Hendersonville Saturday, May 3, 2014 at Station Camp High School Relay for Life of Sumner-Gallatin Friday, May 9, 2014 at Gallatin Civic Center Relay for Life of Sumner-Portland Friday, June 20, 2014 at Days Gone By Relay for Life of Sumner-Westmoreland Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 at Westmoreland Park and Walking Track

Tennessee Oncology Offers psychological services and support for patients and loved ones —Compiled by Hollie Deese/For Sumner County Publications


Sally A., Park Place Resident since 2008, enjoying a dance with her three daughters.

“Park Place has supported four of our family members and our mother (Sally) has been a happy resident for five years. Park Place uses their experience and compassion to grow with the needs of our family. It is such a joy to see our mother relaxed and comfortable in her home at Park Place.”

Support groups can help. In these groups, women with breast cancer or their family members meet with other patients or their families to share what they have learned about coping with the disease and the effects of treatment. Groups may offer support in person, over the telephone, or on the Internet. Women with breast cancer often get together in support groups, but please keep in mind that each woman is different. Ways that one woman deals with cancer may not be right for another. You may want to ask your health care provider about advice you receive from other women with breast cancer.

-Gail S., daughter of a happy resident Come see why Hendersonville’s families have trusted the experience and care of Park Place for 30 years. See for yourself and become part of the Park Place tradition.

Call (615) 822-6002 to schedule your personal visit and complimentary lunch.








Don’t wait – breast cancer can happen to anyone We see the pink ribbons and most of us know it is a symbol for breast cancer, but if you don’t do anything about getting check-ups or doing a monthly self-exam, those pink ribbons are of no value. I know what you are thinking: You think you will know if you have pain or have lumps in your breast. You will feel bad and then you will get a mammogram. If you wait that long, it might be too late. I am one of those lucky people we call breast cancer survivors, and things could have turned out so differently for me if I hadn’t gone to my gynecologist appointment that Friday afternoon in May 1995. You see, I almost didn’t go. I was teaching a big stranger danger program at an elementary school and had police officers coming to fingerprint all the children, etc. and this was just a routine annual yearly appointment. Why I went? Basically, I went to get my prescription for my birth control pills renewed. The irony of the situation was that I was concerned that taking oral contraceptives could lead to cancer. My doctor always would alert me to the latest research about that issue and the reduced risk of ovarian

» THERESA ALLAN cancer and that it helped prevent osteoporosis. Never in my wildest dreams, that day after walking in for an early afternoon check-up, did l think I would be driving home three hours later with the knowledge I probably had breast cancer. The doctor had sent me from her office to the hospital clinic for a needle biopsy after my first ever mammogram. Remember, they used to recommend mammograms for patients over 45 years of age unless you had family history. It’s a lot to process when it hits you. Driving home alone, your mind starts spinning. I was now scheduled Monday morning for a procedural biopsy at the hospital. Cancer – I had a hard time processing what all that word entails. I had a 17-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son at home. My husband, an only

child, had lost his mother from cancer in 1991. His mother’s cancer had gone from the breast to bone and he had driven her to all the radiation and chemo treatments. We knew first hand of the horrible pain and loss. Only four years and now cancer was back in our lives. Maybe all those horrors were spinning in my head as I glanced in the rearview mirror to bright blue lights. Oh geez, I thought, could this day get worse? I pulled over and as the police officer approached my window about my speeding, I then just lost it and confirmed I just found out I have cancer and broke down. Thankfully, he did not give me a ticket. Instead, he patted me on the shoulder and said, “You just need to slow down and get home safely.” Who knew the first person to know of my cancer was not my family but a local police officer? It’s a lot to process in one weekend. We always take our health for granted until we have issues. Things like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, happen to other people, not us, as we continue to make less desirable health choices. When you are 42, and you do exercise daily, don’t smoke and eat healthy, it still can happen. You must get a mammogram and do monthly self breast ex-

ams to know for sure. It doesn’t matter that no one in your family had breast cancer before. After that biopsy, I got myself to the Vanderbilt Breast Center and got a team of wonderful physicians: a surgeon, reconstructive surgeon, and oncologist. After surgery June 5, a Reach for Recovery volunteer came to my hospital room and visited me. I cannot remember her name, but I do remember the hope she gave me. She was healthy, vibrant and told me of her recovery and my journey could turn out OK. After the mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, four rounds of chemo, losing all of my hair, five years of oral chemo drug Tamoxifen, going through menopause at 42 with no hormones, I can tell you I do “count it all joy!” In the Bible, the book of James tells us we will all have difficulties in life and God can teach us through those experiences. The experience of cancer is nothing I wish on anyone, and that is why I tell my story. If telling the experience gets one other person in for a check-up, then it is worth my effort of writing or speaking about it. It is a joy to have survived the process and I want to help others.

The reality and statistics are that one in eight women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2013, an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women, and 2,240 new cases for men. Men’s risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. About 85 percent of breast cancer occurs in women who have no family history. Initially, breast cancer may not cause any symptoms. A lump may be too small for you to feel or to cause any unusual changes you can notice on your own. At the University of Tennessee Extension Office in Gallatin, we have two pamphlets: “Ways to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer” and “I Found a Breast Lump...Now What?” If you have friends or family members that need this information, they are free. Please call 452-1423 or stop by the office. Remember the pink ribbon reminds us to get a check-up. It could save your life, as it did mine. Theresa Allan is a family educator at the University of Tennessee Extension office in Gallatin. Contact her at 452-1423.

Find the answers you need GETTING HELP Here’s where you can go for support: » Doctors, nurses, and other members of your health care team. » Social workers, counselors, or members of the clergy can be helpful if you want to talk about your feelings or concerns. » Social workers can suggest resources for financial aid, transportation, home care, or emotional support. » Support groups also can help.

Toll-free: 1-800-ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345) Visit: CancerCare Offers free support, information, financial assistance, and practical help to people with cancer and their loved ones. Toll-free:1-800-813-HOPE (1-800-813-4673) Cancer Support Community

Cancer Support Community is a national organization that provides support groups, stress reduction and cancer education workshops, nutrition guidance, exercise sessions, and social events. Toll-free:1-888-793-WELL (1-888-793-9355) Visit: www.cancersupport Kids Konnected Offers education and support for children who have a parent with cancer or who have lost a parent to

cancer. Toll-free:1-800-899-2866 Visit: National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship Provides information on cancer support, employment, financial and legal issues, advocacy, and related issues. Toll-free: 1-877-NCCS YES (1-877-622-7937) Visit: Source: National Institutes of Health

TO LOCATE PROGRAMS OR SERVICES National Cancer Institute Cancer Information Service can help, call 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).




National Cancer Institute provides current information on cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, genetics, and supportive care. Visit: NCI’s Cancer Information Service Answers questions about cancer, clinical trials, and cancer-related services and helps users find information on the NCI Web site. Toll Free: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)

OB/Prenatal Care Menopause Management Abnormal Pap Management Well Woman Services Minimally Invasive Gyn Surgery


DID YOU KNOW? This year, 232,340 women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is estimated that 39,620 women and 410 men will die this year.

American Cancer Society Provides current information on all areas of cancer, including research, education, advocacy, and service.

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Self-exams catch breast cancer twice Nurse encourages women to perform routine checks By Hollie Deese For Sumner County Publications


BREAST SELF-EXAM A breast self-exam is a check-up a woman does at home to look for changes or problems in the breast tissue. The best time to do a self breast exam is about 3 to 5 days after your period starts. Your breasts are not as tender or lumpy at this time in your monthly cycle. If you have gone through menopause, do your exam on the same day every month. Follow these steps: » Lie on your back. It is easier to examine all breast tissue if you are lying down. » Place your right hand behind your head. With the middle fingers of your left hand, gently yet firmly press down using small motions to examine the entire right breast. » Next, sit or stand. Feel your armpit, because breast tissue goes into that area. » Gently squeeze the nipple, checking for discharge. Repeat the process on the left breast. » Next, stand in front of a mirror with your arms by your side. Look at your breasts directly and in the mirror. Look for changes in skin texture, such as dimpling, puckering, indentations, or skin that looks like an orange peel. Also note the shape and outline of each breast. Check to see if the nipple turns inward. Do the same with your arms raised above your head. Most women have some lumps. Your goal is to find anything new or different. If you do, call your health care provider right away. Source: National Institutes of Health

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As a mother of two, Donna Weidner had grown accustomed to answering a variety of questions from her children since they were born. But the one from her 13year-old in 2006 knocked the wind out of her. He asked if the lump in his mother’s breast was cancer and if she was going to die. “I teared up because I didn’t know how to answer him,’’ Weidner said. She explained that they didn’t know anything for sure, they would find out once the diagnosis was in, and treat it as best they could. Weidner discovered the lump while performing a breast self-exam. The 42-year-old critical care nurse at Sumner Regional Medical Center had no history of cancer in her family, so she was surprised when a doctor confirmed the disease. But she battled it head on, going through a round of chemotherapy, then radiation after the lump was removed. She even worked through it all. She would get chemotherapy on Thursday, take off Friday and Monday, and then return to work on Tuesday. “It was tough, especially during the end when your immune system is much lower,’’ Weidner said. “I would get illnesses a little bit easier. It’s tiring, but I felt I needed to do that for myself, and my family and my coworkers at the time.” Her family and friends rallied around her. One day, when her hair started falling out, she called her

husband, Ken Weidner, the emergency management agency director for Sumner County. “The doctor told me about when it would fall out and, sure enough, she was almost dead on the date,” she said. On his way home, her husband enlisted two other couples to help cheer up his wife. “So, he shaved my head, and we had a big party in the kitchen,” she said. “It was such a supportive time even though it was very tearful for me.” That was on a Thursday, and the following Sunday, when Weidner went to church she saw that three close male friends had shaved their heads in solidarity. Now 48, Weidner found cancer again one year ago on another self-exam, which she performs diligently along with frequent checkups. “We had been watching it because it was too small to do anything and then it grew a little bit so they were able to biopsy it and it came back positive,” she said. This second time, the cancer was in her breast and in her liver. “The (tumors) are shrinking, and the oncologist is following that. If they start growing in any way then there will be steps we take from there,’’ she said. Weidner is currently on hormone therapy because her cancer is estrogen-sensitive. This has caused severe hot flashes and joint discomfort. “But that’s OK,” she said. “I am alive, and those little things I can deal with.” She hopes her story will inspire more women to perform self-exams for early detection. “It is not a death sentence. The way medical treatment is today, they have expanded that field so much, and we have so many different options.”






Sumner County offers array of services stitute recommends women ages 40 and older get a mammogram every 1-2 years. Here is where you can get one: Hendersonville Medical Center Outpatient Imaging 355 New Shackle Island Road, Hendersonville 615-338-1000

By Hollie Deese Sumner County Publications

Local treatment programs give breast cancer patients comprehensive care close to home. “Any of the breast care services are available here locally,” says Shawna Zody, director of marketing at TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center. “The regular screening mammograms, the diagnostic mammograms, any kind of potential biopsies or surgical services, including mastectomies and reconstructive surgery, can all be done locally.”

Sumner Breast Imaging 201 N. Anderson Lane, Hendersonville 615-824-7249 Sumner Regional Medical Center 555 Hartsville Pike, Gallatin 615-328-5518

Clinical trials

TriStar Women’s Imaging Hendersonville TriStar Women’s Imaging Hendersonville women’s imaging center, a department of TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center, is Sumner County’s first Breast Center of Excellence and at the forefront of the latest in women’s imaging technology. The center boasts a spa-like atmosphere and an all-female staff. Studies are read by radiologists affiliated with Radiology Alliance, Tennessee’s largest private radiology group. RA physicians are board certified and sub-specialty trained in Women’s Imaging.

Imaging for Women at Sumner Station Sumner Station provides diagnostic technology services for women, including breast and obstetrical ultrasound, stereotactic breast biopsy as well as ultrasound guided breast biopsy and fine needle aspiration for early detection of breast cancer. The facility is also able to perform breast MRI and MRI-guided breast biopsies. “The program is tailored to women in a very comfortable setting so you get in, get your mammogram, get out, and you are not waiting in a hospital waiting room that can leave you there for a while,” says

Numerous clinical trial opportunities are available to oncology patients that meet enrollment criteria through Tennessee Oncology Group. They have a full-time clinical trials nurse and work in conjunction with the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center. For more information, call the Tennessee Oncology office at 615-4515481. A woman gets a mammogram. WWW.JUPITERIMAGES.COM

Rachel Lassiter, director of public relations with HighPoint Health System in Gallatin. “Their radiologists are now offering same-day stereotactic biopsies so they get the results of their exams sooner and treatment earlier.” Patients also have access to digital mammography with computer-aided detection, which benefits both the patient and the doctor. It delivers a lower dose of radiation and radiologists can manipulate the images to better focus on any area of concern.

Sumner Regional Medical Center The SRMC Cancer Center is the only one in the area to receive accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. “In 2012, we went through a third accreditation, so the upside for patients is that they

can get state-of-the-art cancer care just like they could in any other facility in Nashville,” says Dr. Robert McClure, medical director of Sumner Regional’s Radiation Oncology department. To maintain approval, facilities with CoC-approved cancer programs must undergo an on-site review every three years. To receive CoC-approval, a cancer program offers: » Comprehensive care, including a range of state-ofthe-art services and equipment » A multispecialty, team approach to coordinate the best treatment options » Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options » Access to cancer-related information, education, and support » A cancer registry that collects data on type and stage of cancers and treatment results and offers lifelong pa-



tient follow-up » Ongoing monitoring and improvement of care » Quality care close to home “We also have at this facility two special pathology procedures that help them with their genetics,” says Dr. Dianna Shipley, medical oncologist. “No. 1, they can get genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, number two they can get gene testing on their breast cancer, something called MammaPrint, that helps make a decision regarding their treatment and whether they have a high risk for occurrence.” If somebody does have recurrent breast cancer, they are eligible for genomic testing to see if there’s a specific treatment that would be more beneficial to them.

Where to get a mammogram

Sumner County Health Department The Tennessee Department of Health offers nominal care for low-income and uninsured women ages 21 and older. If there is a suspicion of or actual diagnosis of cervical or breast cancer, these centers can assist in obtaining TennCare quickly. Gallatin Clinic 1005 Union School Road 615-206-1100 Hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday Hendersonville Clinic 35 New Shackle Island Road 615-824-0552 Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday Portland Clinic 214 West Longview 615-325-5237 Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

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The fight against cancer begins with you.

THE LEADER IN BREAST HEALTH As a proven leader in the fight against breast cancer, TriStar Women’s Imaging has earned the distinction as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. Our priorities focus on providing our community the most advanced services in breast health, improved quality and patient outcomes, and ease of access for our patients. EARLY DETECTION IS THE BEST PROTECTION.


To schedule your mammogram or other breast health services, call 1-877-544-MYCARE.

The Battle Against Breast Cancer  

A special section presented by the Gallatin News Examiner and The Hendersonville Star News in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month i...

The Battle Against Breast Cancer  

A special section presented by the Gallatin News Examiner and The Hendersonville Star News in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month i...