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Early detection saves Arkansas woman with breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and an Arkansas woman is reminding others of the importance of early detection and awareness of your body.

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ark — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we spoke with a woman who wants to remind people of the importance of early detection and awareness of your body.

"I had been doing yard work and I had a sports bra on and I came inside and I had an itch and I felt this gigantic lump on the outside of my right breast," Sarah Abernathy said.

An August day in 2019 Abernathy will never forget.

"I was a very active person, I don’t know how I hadn’t felt it before. It was immediate panic," she said.

She called her doctor right away.

"The nurse was like oh, asked a few questions and she was like 'well that doesn’t sound like anything serious, it’s okay we’ll see you in six months,'" Abernathy said.

But that didn’t sit right with Sarah, so she fought for an earlier appointment. They were able to get her in within a month.

"They did an ultrasound, and they’re like 'the radiation doctor doesn’t like what he’s seeing let’s do a mammogram,' so I did a mammogram and they’re like 'okay well now he wants to do an ultrasound-guided biopsy' and I’m by myself I wasn’t expecting any of this," she said.

At the age of 33, with two kids and a husband at home, she realized her life would never be the same.

"Like two days later on a Thursday I went in and I was told I had breast cancer."

So the fight began.

"Whenever I saw my breast surgeon for the first time he goes 'you have to keep living your life. You have to live it for your kids and you’ve got to live it for your husband,' and so going forward that was my deal like yes I might not feel as good as I did two months ago but I’m still alive and have to keep pushing forward for my family," she said.

She underwent a double mastectomy surgery and treatment until she was in remission.

"They said that my risk of it coming back is less than 50%," Abernathy said.

In hopes that it will never come back, Sarah visits the doctor every three months for a checkup.

"Cancer isn’t just happening in older people anymore it’s younger and younger and we just need to be more aware of it," she said.

Abernathy said that breast cancer does run in her family which is why she always planned on getting mammograms once she turned 40. Because of her experience, she encourages women of all ages to be aware of their bodies and advocate for themselves because it may save their life, as it did hers.

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