Breast cancer survivor encourages women to get checkups

JACKSON, Tenn. — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 40,000 women will die from breast cancer this year.

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Teresa Walker was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in Sept. 2015.

“I had just rubbed across my chest and noticed the knot was there,” Teresa Walker said.

Walker was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in Sept. 2015. “It was scary, but I was more worried about my family,” she said.

Walker, a mom of three and soon to be first-time grandmother, made the decision to fight. She had a double mastectomy and four months of chemotherapy. “I’m still young,” Walker said. “I still have a lot of living to do.”

Nori Pigue, a breast care nurse navigator at the Kirkland Cancer Center in Jackson, said women should do a self exam at least once a month. “Feel all over your breast up to your collarbone, under the armpits, which is very important, all the way down to the rib cage,” she said.

Pigue said if you are between age 40 and 45, talk to a doctor if you think you need a mammogram. She said women between age 45 and 54 get a mammogram every year. For women ages 54 to 55 and up, Pigue said you can get a mammogram every two years.

“Early detection is really the best protection,” Pigue said.

Walker urged other women to be familiar with their body and get checkups. “When you notice something, don’t wait,” she said. “Don’t put it off.”

Walker completed treatment in April and has since returned to work.

The West Tennessee Imaging Center will host free breast cancer screenings for uninsured women from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. To make an appointment, call 731-541-5087.

This One’s for the Girls, a breast cancer awareness event, will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Jackson Country Club. The event will include dinner, a fashion show, speakers, vendors and door prizes. Call 731-541-5087 to register.