Early screenings key in finding cancer early

COOKEVILLE — Lynn Burton was just about to turn 40 when she got her first cancer diagnosis. 

“I had gotten my first official mammogram when the cancer was found,” she said. “It turned out to be cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and estrogen receptor (ER) positive, but Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) negative.”

She underwent a lumpectomy with general surgeon Dr. Charles Huddleston and radiation treatment. She was on Tamoxifen for eight years and underwent annual mammograms. 

“Amy Ellis, the breast nurse navigator, is amazing,” Burton said. “Another nurse, Barbara, was a saving grace. While I was waiting for test results, she had them ready and checked on everything.”

Then at age 50, the mammogram found cancer again – but this time, it was a different type – HER2 positive.

“I underwent a mastectomy this time and chemo, with 12 weekly rounds of Taxol and one year of Herceptin,” she said. “I finished the Herceptin in April.”

Barbara was also there for her second round of treatments.

“She was a huge support,” she said.

Burton, who lives in Sparta, said she didn’t have that many side effects from the treatments.

“I think it’s because it was caught so early,” she said.

During both treatments, she was treated by Dr. Algis Sidrys, radiation oncologist, and the oncology nurses, which was helpful when her mother was diagnosed with the same cancer in her 70s.

“She also went to Dr. Huddleston for her lumpectomy,” she said. 

She went with her mother to every treatment she had as well.

“That’s kind of the mother-daughter bonding experience you don’t want to have,” she said. “It’s hard hearing the word ‘cancer,’ but when caught early, your chances of surviving are better.”

She has been the featured speaker at the annual Pink Gala event, an event hosted by Cumberland Imaging Associates to raise funds for the Cookeville Regional Charitable Foundation’s Pink Ribbon free mammogram program. This year, the event is set for July 24 from 6-11 p.m. at the Leslie Town Centre.

“Annual screenings have been proven to find cancer early,” said Paul Korth, CRMC CEO. “The Women’s Center at Cookeville Regional Medical Center offers mammograms and more as part of the mission to serve this community with state-of-the-art technology to diagnose diseases early and treat them right here at home.”

For more information about the Women’s Center, visit https://crmchealth.org/womenscenter. For more information about the Cancer Center, visit https://crmchealth.org/cancer.

To hear Burton’s testimony and see video of her last day of therapy, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muteCx3Dk2s.

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