Siouxland breast cancer survivor credits screening for saving her life

Updated: Oct. 5, 2021 at 6:28 PM CDT
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Sioux City, Iowa (KTIV) -- During this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we speak with two local doctors and a breast cancer survivor. They remind everyone to stay up-to-date on their breast cancer screenings, to catch cancer early, before it ever enters the advanced stages. Siouxlander Candace Borrall says that important screening saved her life.

Borrall, a busy professional, wife and mother, says initially, she was just too busy to go in for her mammogram.

“I had a mammogram scheduled for myself in May. I got busy at work. I decided, oh, I’m going to cancel that today. I don’t have time for that,” said Candace Borrall.

She says breast cancer was never on her radar.

“Saw Dr. Aldrich in July. She reminded me, Candace, you’re overdue for your mammogram. You’ve got to get that done,” said Borrall.

At 41, Borrall received some news she never ever expected. In fact, she learned a genetic mutation of the breast cancer gene is part of her family history.

“I had my mammogram and I was called a few days later. They wanted me to come back. We found 4 microscopic tumors the size of the tip of a pen that they said I wouldn’t have felt for years. I caught my cancer at Stage One because I had a mammogram,” said Borrall.

“Mammograms are one of those things that hopefully we catch problems before they become a problem. So even if you’re not having any symptoms, lumps or bumps, that’s really the best time to get your mammogram done so we can catch things again before they become problematic,” said Dr. Alisa Olson, Family Medicine Doctor, Family Medicine Sunnybrook.

Doctors say those screenings should start at 40 to 50 years of age -- but -- talk to your doctor to make sure what’s right for you.

“It’s nothing to be scared about. We should be scared about things we don’t know. This is one of the things you can control. Knowledge is power. Get your mammogram. Get that reassurance after everything is done and over that everything looks good,” said Dr. Olson.

“Mammography got a lot better with digital. And it got a lot better after that with 3D so now we’re not only in the digital era, but the 3D era and things are a lot better as far as screening goes,” said Dr. Adnan Qalbani, Board Certified Radiologist, Medical Director, MercyOne Dakota Dunes Breast Care.

Borrall, who underwent successful treatment says she is here today and able to be a mother to her children because she went in for a mammogram.

“You’re not too busy. Your life is important. If you don’t go in. Early detection is key. If I would have waited until I felt something, I likely could have been Stage 3, Stage 4, Terminal. I wouldn’t be here to see my Son go to Homecoming…..” said Borrall.

She also says she will spend the rest of her life reminding people to get their mammograms.

“Your family, your coworkers, your church, your community needs you to not be busy. They need you to go take the time because you’re important,” said Borrall.

Doctors say if you’ve been putting off breast cancer screenings because of reasons that include being busy and COVID-19, now is the time get in and get checked.

“It’s a few seconds of compression, per breast, per year to get the best images possible and optimize your health outcome,” said Dr. Qalbani.

“At this point, we’ve been vaccinated, we’re taking every precaution, as far as masking goes, making sure we’re keeping sick people isolated to themselves in the clinic. So now’s really the time to get your preventative health screenings done, making sure we’re taking care of all those chronic conditions as well,” said Dr. Olson.

Borrall says she convinced a coworker to go in for a screening and that coworker was diagnosed with Stage Zero breast cancer. Now, every year on her birthday, she and her children give back to the community, which serves as a reminder for people to get screened.

To learn more about essential cancer screenings, and when to get them, check out the Health page at KTIV-dot-com, under the “News” tab.

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