Early detection of breast cancer can save lives—and it did just that for Sherrie Pinkney.
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Pinkney shared her story Wednesday in front of a group of certified nursing assistants and patient services assistants at their required, monthly educational and training program at Best Care, Inc.
Pinkney, originally from New Jersey, started to feel a heaviness in her left arm and breast. She went to the doctor where she revealed not having a mammogram done in some time. Pinkney was referred to another doctor who took a biopsy of her breast and found calcium build-up. Her doctor said it did not look that bad, but Pinkney was worried.
According to the National Institute of Health, various patterns of calcification occur in the breast—some benign and some malignant. Mammograms help to accurately determine which type.
Pinkney underwent surgery and was told that physicians needed to go deeper because of all the calcium build-up. She cried.
"I had to go through a lot of process, which wasn’t easy. But I thank God for my church. I’m a member of Mt. Zion and they prayed and prayed over me and that made me feel strong and kept me from feeling all kids of ways," she said.
Now Pinkney does not have cancer at all.
"They caught it in time," she said. "If they didn’t catch in time they would have to remove my whole breast."
Pinkney was also given the option of undergoing breast reconstruction. She was so happy that the doctors were able to save her breast that she did not worry about reconstruction.
The calcium dissolved but she has to go back for radiation treatments.
"I’m glad the worse is out the way," Pinkney said. "I wasn’t expecting for this to happen. In New Jersey they didn’t say anything."
Pinkney’s father died of colon cancer and her mother died of liver disease, but she had no family history of breast cancer.
One of the attending CNAs/PSAs shared how her sister, who did not have mammograms for years until she was persuaded by her doctor, had a quarter-size lump on her breast.
Brenda Whipple-Jones, RN Nurse Supervisor at Best Care, thought it was a great opportunity to share information about breast cancer prevention as part of the training program.
"Just because you have the diagnosis doesn’t mean you have a death sentence," Jones said to the group. "In healthcare we do a lot of prevention. Please encourage your clients to get mammograms or partner with a buddy. Your faith also plays a big part in medical diagnosis."
Jones shared she lost numerous relatives, on both her father and mother’s sides, to various forms of cancer—making her extra vigilant when it comes to her yearly mammograms.
Pinkney was presented with a certificate and check from the Best Care Inc. as a token of their appreciation for sharing her story.
At the beginning of the program, Pinkney picked out a Breast Cancer Awareness themed pin that just so happened to have the word "Courage" on it. Jones thought it was a fitting way to describe Pinkney’s journey.