Early detection saves Betty Barnes’ life | CraigDailyPress.com

Early detection saves Betty Barnes’ life

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Betty Barnes is diligent with getting her annual mammograms, which helped save her life in 2011. She volunteers with LOVE Inc., giving back to the community she loves.

Betty Barnes credits her successful battle with breast cancer to early detection, and she has one very important message for women, "It's so important to have those check ups. It's not comfortable, it's not pleasant, but it may save your life," she said.

Barnes was diagnosed with the earliest stage of breast cancer in 2011 when she was 60 years old.

"You feel like your world kind of falls out from under you," she said. "I don't remember scared being one of those emotions. I was determined to do what ever it took to fight the battle and come out on the other side."

Before diagnosis, she'd always been right on time with her annual mammograms, however that year she let her health slip.

"My mother had been very ill, and she had passed away at the end of April, so I had put off taking care of myself," Barnes said.

She was supposed to have her annual mammogram in February but waited until June. She remembers sitting on the table as the doctor had to come back into the room several times.

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"I'm thinking, 'Oh, this is not good,'" she said. "He said they saw something they weren't pleased with."

The next thing Barnes knew, she was on her way to Denver for a biopsy. In 2011, Northwest Colorado didn't have the technology it now has to effectively treat breast cancer, so Barnes was sent to the Front Range for treatment.

"I had awesome support from my family and friends," she said. "I have a very strong faith, and I leaned on that."

As it turned out, she was in the very early stages of breast cancer.

"When I went and saw the surgeon, she was very optimistic and very hopeful," Barnes said, noting that she went through a week of radiation.

Because her cancer was in the beginning stages, Barnes did not have to go through chemotherapy or have a mastectomy. She went back to the doctor in December 2011 and was told she was cancer free.

She and her husband went on a cruise to celebrate. Barnes is extremely aware that her situation could've turned out much different had she not been so relentless to get a mammogram each year.

"I have women tell me all the time that they haven't had a mammogram in 10 years, and I almost faint," Barnes said, noting how her diligence saved her life.

According to the American Cancer Society, “Most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if even more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests.”

Reach Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com.Reach Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com.Reach Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com.

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