Breast Cancer Survivor shares her fight through the pandemic and encourages other women to ‘check yourself’

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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W.Va (WDTV) - October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as screenings have decreased during the pandemic, survivor, Sarah Chapman shared why it’s important for women to educate themselves and know their bodies.

“We need to make breast cancer awareness bigger and better in West Virginia, because I do not feel that it is something that is talked about often,” Chapman said.

This is her message after winning the fight against breast cancer during the pandemic.

Chapman was diagnosed around the time Governor Jim Justice declared the state of emergency last year in March, which added a challenge to the battle.

“Nobody could go in with me,” she said.

“I woke up in a room in the hospital with my body forever changed.”

Chapman went through treatment, some of it including 12 surgeries and 28 rounds of radiation. Through this tough experience, she is using her story to spread awareness beyond October.

“Check yourself. I didn’t have a first mammogram, I wasn’t 40. Protocol right now says those 40 and older get mammograms,” Chapman said.

The West Virginia Breast Health Initiative (WVBHI) states that on average, six West Virginian’s will die every week from breast cancer, and the CDC reported in June that the number of women getting mammograms has seen a sharp decrease during the pandemic.

It’s part of why Chapman says learning the signs and knowing your body can help tremendously.

“Don’t put yourself on the back burner. As a mom I did that a lot,” Chapman said. “Stage 3 in two and a half months time--15 milliliters changed my life, and 15 milliliters is not a lot, but if I would have waited until my annual exam in August, I could have been stage four real quick,” she said.

If you or someone you know needs a mammogram, call the WVBHI office at 304-556-4808. 100% of the funds raised through WVBHI stays in West Virginia.

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