TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - October marks Breast Cancer awareness month, and an East Texas woman is sending out a message about the importance of early detection.
Dannie Baxter’s life was flipped upside down three years ago.
“You just don't want to hear that, they must've made a mistake you know so you're just in denial,” says Baxter.
59-year-old Baxter never thought she would be told by doctors these three words… you have cancer.
“Every year you get a mammogram, so I was just going for a mammogram, I had no idea that something was going to pop up, adds Baxter.
In May 2016, Baxter underwent a lumpectomy, an outpatient surgical procedure in which a lump is removed from the breast.
“The lord doesn't bring anything to you. So, I believe He brought it to me, and He helped me through it because I'm three years free,” explains Baxter.
After 33 rounds of radiation, Baxter is now cancer free. She says her annual mammogram saved her life.
“When you go back and think about it you know it brings tears to your eyes, but the good thing about it I survived it and I'm going to keep on surviving it one day at a time. Go get your mammogram, get your annual checkup, its most important.”
According to American College of Radiology, nearly 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
Dr. Brandon Ashton, Diagnostic Radiologist, UT Health East Texas in Tyler tells KLTV, ”Here at our facility there's about three or four women each week that we diagnose with cancer, so there's quite a few.
Doctor Ashton stresses that early detection is key to survival.
“Every breast is different, they all feel a little bit different, but a woman should know their own breast and notice a change. And that can be an important factor to get you in perhaps before your mammogram or in between mammograms,” explains Dr. Ashton.
Health professionals recommend women begin annual mammograms at age 40. However, if there is a history of breast cancer in their family, it is suggested women get checked sooner.
“Breast cancer is not a death sentence. There is so many women who have lived and fought and won. I think that's inspiring to see and it should give us hope even if we're scared we might have breast cancer don't turn away from what could potentially be a live saving treatment,” says Dr. Ashton.
Doctor Ashton says UT Health East Texas Breast Care Center has performed 11,473 mammograms so far this year.