Get Pink: Woman encourages others to be proactive after unexpected breast cancer diagnosis

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You can survive and thrive with breast cancer, but it's not easy. One Oklahoma woman is learning that the hard way.

Sandy Kane is no different than anyone else fighting the disease, but her story is unique. If it weren't for a little nudging from her sister to participate in a clinical trial, there’s no telling where she might be a year from now.

Her and her sister’s bond is now stronger than ever; one of them help detect breast cancer and the other is battling it.

“I had no symptoms. I had had a mammogram in that prior April and they told me everything looked fine, other than that I had dense breasts,” said Kane.

At her sister’s urging, Kane signed up for a clinical trial being conducted by researchers at Mercy Hospital's Breast Center and the University of Oklahoma.

Heading up that trial at Mercy is Dr. Alan Hollingsworth.

"We've already looked at 6,000 mammograms this way,” said Hollingsworth. “Now were doing a prospective trial trying to identify patients for MRI, even though their mammogram was normal.”

Hollingsworth says each mammogram is de-identified, sent electronically to the Advanced Cancer Imaging Laboratory at OU in norman and then converted into a risk score.

Kane’s risk score was .91. Hollingsworth recommended an MRI, which Kane went into with no inkling any cancer would be found. She was wrong.

Dr. Hollingsworth broke the news to her on June 8.

”He had to tell me three times before it kind of hit me that it was malignant,” said Kane.

She was diagnosed with invasive ductile carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer. The tumor found in her breast was about the size of a peanut, measuring at 2 cm. Kane’s breast density had made it impossible for her recent mammogram to detect.

Fortunately, with the help of Dr. Hollingsworth, the cancer was caught early.

But that doesn't take away from the fear Kane now lives with everyday.

"It was unbelievably scary,” she said. “It still is.”

Kane has since undergone a lumpectomy, brachytherapy and two rounds of chemotherapy.

It's not the path she would of chosen, but her family and her faith will see her through.

"God's going to help me through this the most,” Kane said. “I mean he guides me every day. He picks me up when I'm down. But he's a healing God and so he will heal me."

Kane’s sights are set on November 2019, when she is expected to undergo her last round of chemotherapy. She encourages other women to be proactive and never think they’re invincible.

This breast cancer clinical trial is the largest in Oklahoma.

The research is being paid for by a $2.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Hollingsworth says the whole purpose is to make mammograms more efficient in the detection of breast cancer.

For more information contact the Mercy Breast Center.

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