Buddy Check 3: Woman reflects on her battle with breast cancer 37 years later

Buddy Check 3

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — On Buddy Check 3 Day, WSAV News 3’s Tina Tyus-Shaw talked to a Savannah woman about battling a killer and using her voice to help save lives.

“When I was 18, for the first time I was told I had dense breasts,” the woman tells Tyus-Shaw.

37 years later Cindy Burns is thankful to be alive. This flame of hope shines brightly on Cindy’s back porch, where she prepared for battle when her life started to shift.

“I had a mammogram in January. Everything was great. Got the test back. It was fine, except of course they felt a little nodule because I have dense breasts,” Burns said.

Cindy got the all-clear, only to face a drastic change three months later.

“On my right breast, woke up one morning I felt something,” Burns said. “And it was a large something.”

Her gynecologist suggested an ultrasound follow-up.

“And so when they did the ultrasound, they realized that I had ductal carcinoma cancer.” That was April 16. The tumor in her sick breast grew fast, topping between 3 and 5 centimeters before surgery.

“Triple Negative is the type of cancer I had. It’s an aggressive cancer,” Burns said. “If I had waited any longer I might not be sitting here today, and it’s because of the ultrasound.”

Cindy is clear to point out that no one is at fault. Fit for battle, this wife, mother and grandmother kept her journey private for as long as she could.

“People didn’t realize I was going through it because I did Cold Capping, and so I saved my hair,” Burns says.

Cindy found hope and courage in her special space surrounded by an abundance of inspiration from family and friends.

“Tina, this is where I told my friends. The morning after I found out that I had cancer I got up and I made breast cancer cookies,” Burns says. “I gave them a cookie, and I said this is temporary just like this cookie.”

Now, Cindy says her lifetime battle is to stay healthy and help raise awareness.

“That’s why Buddy Check is so important, is we have to encourage our friends to get out of our comfort zones and tell the story,” Burns says.

Cindy has conquered chemo and a mastectomy. She will have reconstruction in two weeks.

Cindy encourages everyone to do self exams, get your mammogram and push for further testing if needed.

If you have concerns or questions about breast health, call the Lewis Cancer Pavilion at 912-819-7053. To check out more stories from the life-saving Buddy Check 3 program, click or tap here.

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