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Breast cancer survivor encourages routine mammograms, says early detection saves lives

“I am five years breast cancer free, and I just live my life every day, one day at a time."

BEAUMONT, Texas — Organizations across Southeast Texas have been doing everything they can to raise awareness about a disease that 1 in every 8 women will deal with in their lifetime.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a survivor of the disease spoke with 12News to encourage women to get routine mammograms. The survivor said routine checkups are critical and just may have been what saved her life.

Nancy Norwood is one of the eight women in her family who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Both Norwood and her sister were diagnosed in 2015.

“I was a little devastated, but I knew that I could beat it, just being as strong as the rest of my family was,” Norwood said.

Norwood said she has worked with the Medical Center of Southeast Texas for 18 years. She was at work when she received a call informing her that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine checkup.

“I had a mammogram, and then I had an MRI, and that's when they found it,” she said.

Norwood said at first, the news was hard to hear, but she remained positive. She said she was blessed to have family who battled breast cancer to rely on.

“Just being around my family and what they went through really gave me the strength to move forward, and just get tested every year, and just make sure everything was okay,” Norwood said.

The survivor strongly urges other women to get routinely testing. Norwood said her routine mammogram was how she found out she had stage 1 breast cancer.

“I am five years breast cancer free, and I just live my life every day, one day at a time,” Norwood said.

Health officials said the advancement from 2D to 3D mammograms has been a huge help in detecting the cancer.

“You see all of the images of the breasts as opposed to just a front and back image of the breast,” Shannon Frugia, Medical Center of Southeast Texas employee, said.

Frugia said early detection is critical, and he also urges everyone to get routine mammogram tests.

“One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and detection is the best key for treatment,” Frugia said.

The Medical Center of Southeast Texas will offer mammograms and bone density screenings by appointment for a discounted rate for the rest of October. Anyone who wants to can set up an appointment by calling 409-853-5800.

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