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Breast Cancer Survivor Encourages Early Detection Plan

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“I went to pull down my sweatshirt and I felt a lump. And immediately my heart sank to the floor. My knees fell to the ground and I just started to cry,” Tammi Harrigan said.

When Tammi was just 28- years- old, she found a lump in her breast while she was changing. That lump was stage two breast cancer. The first thing Tammi thought of: her three young children. At the time they were ages one and a half, 4 and 5- years- old.

“I took Legos and built a man of Legos and I said ‘each Lego is a cell and our bodies are made up of cells and when a cell is sick, it’s called cancer.’ And I knocked down the Lego man and Legos flew everywhere. I started putting them back together and I said ‘the doctors are going to put mommy back together again too,’” Tammi said.

They did just that. The cancer was detected early enough. Tammi was going to fight it. There was no way her beautiful children were growing up without a mother.

“So I started chemo before I had to have surgery and I did 20 weeks of chemo. I lost my hair. I was sick. There were days when I didn’t want to even get out of bed, but I never showed my children that I was sick. I smiled anyway,” Tammi said.

After chemo, a double mastectomy and radiation, Tammi got the call. She’s cancer free. Now, Tammi wants to encourage all women to be proactive about their health. She says early breast cancer detection is the best detection.

“The earlier you find it, you’re gonna live. You will survive,” Tammi said.

“Annual screening allows us to detect changes that occur in a women’s breast over the past year. That really gives us the best opportunity to find cancers when they’re at their earliest stage,” Dr. Geneva Ballard said. Dr. Ballard is the Section Chief of Breast Imaging at Guthrie.

Doctors at Guthrie say you have the means to fight cancer and you don’t have to go far.  It can be easy to detect and you can do it right here in our area.

“And generally the prognosis of cancers, when they’re detected at its earliest stage, is absolutely excellent,” Dr. Ballard said.

Now that Tammi is cancer free, looking back, she wouldn’t change a thing from her doctors, to her treatment and she’d recomend the same to you.

“I had all my treatments here and I wouldn’t go anywhere else,” Tammi said.

Tammi Harrigan operates a Facebook page called Surviving Young. To ‘like” the page, click HERE

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