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Get Pink: World traveler shares breast cancer journey

(KOKH)

The Chatmon family is no stranger to new adventures. Gladys and Frank have traveled the world together and have been married for 45 years.

The couple has visited numerous countries, but while planning a family vacation in 2012 Gladys was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 60. An INTEGRIS radiologist made the discovery through a mammogram screening; the size of her cancer was equivalent to a grain of sand.

"Without that appointment, I would not have known that I had cancer," said Gladys.

Early detection saved her life. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, 69 percent of African American women age 60 and older have had a mammogram in the past two years. However, the mortality rate is higher for African American women.

"When you're diagnosed, it's human nature to think the worst, but for me, I think I'm better because of my journey,"Gladys said.

A journey her husband had been on before and conquered after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008.

"She's just a strong person, best thing to do was pretty much get out of her way. She handled it much better than me," Frank said.

Gladys was determined to make her flight to Italy. She had surgery and underwent six weeks of radiation. After recovery, she was able to add another stamp to her passport filled with priceless moments and magnificent views from Tuscany, Cortona and Venice.

"It was just an answer to so many prayers, that God had found a way to make that journey, that I could enjoy that time," Gladys said.

Today, she is going five-years strong cancer free and with memories to last a lifetime. The couple now works with INTEGRIS to strengthen the communication between medical professionals, patients, and their families.

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