LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- A Lafayette woman is finding that her annual trip to get a mammogram may have saved her life this year. For Evelyn Smith, this Breast Cancer Awareness month comes with a new sense of importance.
Smith has gone from an IU Health Arnett cancer patient to survivor in a matter of seven months. She said her story could have ended a lot differently, had she not gotten her mammogram this year.
"The misconception of cancer is that it doesn't have to be a death sentence, you know, it can be hope," said Smith.
Her journey to cancer recovery started in March of this year. That's a time when she typically gets her annual mammogram at IU Health Arnett.
"Went and got that and the lady said she saw something on there and so they did it again and they showed it to the radiologists," said Smith.
The radiologists decided to give her a biopsy and a week later the results came in.
"They began to tell me that it was Triple-negative, stage two Breast Cancer and that it was invasive," said Smith. "Nobody wants to find out that they've got cancer, I was kind of numb the day that I found out."
Triple-negative is an aggressive cancer that grows at a rapid rate. When it was discovered in Smith's body, it was about the size of a pea, something she wouldn't be able to feel on her own.
"I probably would have never felt it and had I not got the mammogram, where would I have been," said Smith.
A few weeks after her diagnosis, she got the cancer removed. Then she began chemotherapy and radiation to help kill any possible remnants of cancer left in the breast tissue.
Smith said the entire process was fairly smooth despite it happening during a pandemic.
"They've made this experience great and easier to take," said Smith. "Had they not been there, and been the kind of people they were, it could have been a bad experience."
Now she's wrapping up her last radiation this week and celebrating being cancer-free.
"If you've got the hope and the faith and the love of the people around you, it can be a good experience," said Smith.
IU Health Arnett officials are encouraging women to start getting their mammograms at age 40. They say it's important to make it an annual exam. The hospital is scheduling women for same-day exams right now. Click here to get it scheduled or call 765-448-8100.