HOUSTON — One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and Vernita Eddins is one of them.
Eddins, who has six kids and nine grandchildren, learned she had breast cancer in January after her daughter was diagnosed.
In a health screening, Dr. Jessica Treviño Jones with UT Physicians and the Memorial Hermann Cancer Center found that Eddin's daughter carried a gene linked to breast cancer and advised the other women in her family to get tested.
“She went into teacher mode and said, 'Get it tested!' I still said no, but then all of a sudden my chest started hurting. There wasn’t anything there. You couldn’t see nothing or touch nothing, I was short of breath,” Eddins said.
She wasn't just fighting cancer, she also had to fight for medical coverage after being disabled and unable to work.
“We have social workers to help with patients who don’t have insurance. We go above and beyond because we know it’s more important not just to wait for someone to get cancer, but to stop it before it even starts,” Dr. Treviño Jones explained.
The doctor said with early detection and screening mammograms, doctors can detect cancer before a patient is even able to feel it.
Women should begin their annual screening mammograms at the age of 40. For African American women that age drops down to 35.
“It is so much more important than just curing patients. We can do more. We can prevent cancer before it even starts,” Dr. Treviño Jones said.
In fact, now doctors can prevent more than 50% of breast cancers. That’s why Vernita isn’t giving up hope and is sharing her story.
“There’s 10 more of me somewhere, that do not know that you can rightfully get healthcare. But you can’t take no for an answer, you have to keep fighting,” Eddins advised.
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