SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A local breast cancer clinical researcher for 18 years was met by total surprise in 2013 when she received her diagnosis.
“I’m the researcher. I’m supposed to be helping people get through this,” said Pat Sharpe.
She said the detection was made through her annual mammogram.
“I was still doing self-examinations, but because of the stage of the cancer, I would have never felt it on myself exams,” Sharpe said, “because it was in my ducts.”
She was blessed enough to have a front line support system with her coworkers turned health care providers at Memorial Health.
“I had access to the surgeons, I had access to medical oncologists, all because, you know, I’m doing studies,” Sharpe added.
As time passed, and she started working at the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion, her mammogram revealed the battle was back.
“I was doing my regular self-exam, and on the other side I felt a lump,” she said. “I thought, ‘Really? Can’t be. I’m on tamoxifen, everything is supposed to be OK’.”
Sharpe opted to have a mastectomy. “And so, with that, I had to have chemotherapy, and I had to have radiation the second time around,” she explained.
Concerned about what coronavirus has brought us, Sharpe encourages people to get their mammogram, even in the pandemic.
“Because we don’t want to get to the point where we’re starting to see more breast cancer because people have not had their mammograms or they haven’t done their self-exams,” she said.
Sharpe encourages education, knowing your family history, and being your own advocate.
WSAV has partnered with St. Joseph’s Candler to help you learn more about early detection. IF you have breast health questions, call 912-819-5704.
Learn more about our Buddy Check 3 program and breast self-exams at this link.