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Best things: Fighting breast cancer
1006 Tina Fuata
Tina Fuata - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, since there is no cure for cancer, early detection is the key to surviving the disease. Breast cancer survivor and Fort Stewart resident Tina Fuata, 43, recently shared with the Courier her top methods for fighting cancer.
1. Monthly breast self-exams.  “My mom had breast cancer at an early age, so I’ve always done monthly self-exams,” Fuata said. “I really didn’t know why I was doing them or what I was supposed to be feeling for, but during my self-exam in January that all changed. I felt a lump — not a huge lump, but definitely a lump that had not been there the month before. Time to see the doctor.”
2. Schedule a mammogram.  “Make sure your doctor knows your family history. If you are high-risk, you should have a mammogram earlier than age 40,” she said. “I had my first mammogram around age 30. Be sure to continue with yearly mammograms (or every other year, whichever your doctor suggests). Early detection saves lives!”
3. Educate yourself. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. After the mammogram and the biopsy, I was diagnosed with stage 1, invasive ductal carcinoma. My doctor went over all the options I had. I asked lots of questions, I Googled a bunch and I talked to people who had been through what I was preparing to go through,” Fuata said. “By the time my surgery rolled around, I was satisfied that I had made the right choices for me, I knew what was about to happen and I was ready.”
4. Take care of your body and stay positive.  “Tell yourself you are going to get through this. Surround yourself with good friends. Keep your body healthy by eating right and getting enough sleep,” the survivor said. “During my daily radiation treatments, I prayed. That was my quiet time, my time to talk to God. I dreaded radiation, but looking back, I miss that time. The best word I can think of to describe it is relaxing.”
5. Get involved. “Stay on top of all the clinical trials that are available. Participate in a Walk For The Cure or Relay for Life,” Fuata said. “Through clinical trials and money raised, hopefully soon a cure for cancer will be found.”
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