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Get Pink: Metro couple fights through breast cancer together

Nanette and Allen Haag. (Courtesy of the Haags)

It was a shock to Nanette and Allen Haag when she was told after a mammogram in 2013 that she had breast cancer.

She immediately had the lump removed, but needed to continue radiation for the next five years.

"I was her partner and we're going to do it together,” Allen said. “There was such much information out there that people can get once they find out they have cancer."

Allen helped his wife go through this information. He also went with her to all of her doctor’s appointments and cancer treatments as a way to help her during this time.

"In a marriage it's for better or for worse and you're there to support each other,” Allen said. “Whose to say that I might be the one who needs support in the future? So it's a partnership."

Nanette’s cancer was detected by a routine mammogram five years ago. After testing the lump doctors found in the mammogram, it was found to be a more aggressive form of cancer called triple negative.

"A triple negative is harder to treat and it's usually a worse prognosis so it was pretty worrisome for us," Allen said.

The Haags came up with a plan and stuck to it. It included keeping a close eye on it for the next five years with chemotherapy and radiation.

"It's hard,” Allen said. “It's not easy. There's side effects from that. There's burning, there's some scarring."

But Nanette remained cancer-free since she first got the diagnosis. Allen credits that routine mammogram for helping his wife get started with treatment early.

"If women put it on their calendar, make it a priority and do it regularly,” Allen said. “The same thing as colonoscopies after a certain age. We're very thankful she went in for that appointment to get it done."

He said the role of men in making sure the women in their life get regular mammograms is just as important.

"If there's a husband out there who knew that, 'Hey, you're at the age now where you need to be having these done,'” Haag said. “And they can encourage her to do that and support her in doing that, that's a huge thing."

The Haags have since had three more grandchildren since Nanette was first diagnosed. Allen said he’s thankful his wife is healthy and is able to spend time with them.

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