Midtown Medical Center celebrates local breast cancer survivors
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - October is breast cancer awareness month, and Midtown Medical is celebrating local women who've overcome the disease and are now supporting other women, helping them stay informed on their all-around health.
Tashema Johnson experienced the trials and tribulations brought on by breast cancer early in her life.
"The very first time I went through it, I was 25," she said. "I started chemo on my 25th birthday."
Johnson had been cancer-free for 13 years. "Then, I found a lump again, January of 2017. But both times, I found the lumps myself because I check my breasts - because know that I carry the BRCA gene."
Johnson's mother also survived breast cancer, and her experience shaped Tashema's education and awareness of her own health.
"And so, I was always just trained by my mom to check my breasts," she said.
Midtown Medical Center's mission during the month of October is helping breast cancer survivors share their stories, in the hopes they can help other women who will soon encounter this disease in the community.
"Locally, we see annually between 300-350 new breast cancer cases a year [out of 500,000 people]," said Dr. Kenneth Smith, breast surgeon working for the John B. Amos Cancer Center.
"We are seeing it, unfortunately," Smith said, "at an increasing rate compared to the rest of the country. Fortunately, we are experiencing the same improvement and survival that the rest of the country is seeing."
"50 percent of your healing is your attitude," Johnson said, "how you look at it, how you deal with it, so I just put so much energy and emphasis on the positive."