One Survivor's Story - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

One Survivor's Story

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ALEXANDRIA, La. - This month you can't go anywhere without seeing pink. October is breast cancer awareness month. But there are some in Cenla who are always aware of breast cancer.

News Channel 5's Kathleen Witte spoke with one survivor today about what this month means to her.

Last October, during breast cancer awareness month, Judy Copeland was undergoing radiation treatment for a cancerous tumor she found in her breast.

Judy Copeland, breast cancer survivor: "So a few months after my last mammogram, I found a lump. A pretty significant lump. And of course the bottom of your world falls out."

But October is back again, and this time, Copeland says she's celebrating.

Copeland: "Now I can look at it and say, that was me a year ago, and look at me now."

She's been in remission for two months, and Copeland says, it's because of her faith, support system--and early detection.

Oncology specialists at the Rapides Regional Cancer Center agree.

Karen Hathorn, RN, director of oncology services: "It used to be, well, you just wait around until something happens and then you get treated. And now, early detection has been preached."

Karen Hathorn, the director of the oncology services at Rapides Regional, says, you should be doing breast self-examinations by the time you're 21. And you should be getting yearly mammograms starting at age 40. But for some, these tests should start even earlier.

Hathorn: "You really need to have that conversation with your doctor. Because things are now so specialized and indicated for individuals. Depending on their history, depending on their lifestyle, and depending on their risk factor."

But Hathorn says early detection can only do so much. The rest is treatment. Fortunately for cancer patients, advancements are happening every day.

Hathorn: "I've been a nurse for over thirty years. And the changes that I've seen in that time are tremendous."

And she says, that research couldn't happen without events like Komen Cenla Race for the Cure.

Hathorn: "Research funding is vitally important in cancer research."

Judy Copeland says, seeing those joggers in pink on race day means something else for her, too.

Copeland: "So it makes you feel like you're friends with every single one of those people, that they're rooting just for you."

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