Laurel resident fights estrogen-based cancer

Laurel resident fights estrogen-based cancer

Laurel resident Sheila Hennis said she has no family history of breast cancer, but just three months ago, she was diagnosed with a form of breast cancer she had never heard of before.

"In a matter of weeks my whole life was turned upside down," Hennis said.

Hennis said she couldn't believe something so small could take her away from her family.

"How will it change my husband's life? How will it change my son's life? "

She said after her yearly mammogram in July, her life changed in three days. Hennis said her routine mammogram was on Monday, later she was told the radiologist found something very small but suspicious on Thursday.

"Original appointment date for my yearly exam was July the 10th, and then I had my surgery, my lumpectomy, the Wednesday before Labor Day," Hennis said.

Hennis's doctor diagnosed her with stage zero, estrogen-based cancer. The staff at Hattiesburg clinic, like Nurse Practitioner Bradley Myers, helped Hennis understand her diagnosis.

"The longer our bodies receive estrogen, the more risk we are of having estrogen-based cancer," Myers said. "So, a female that starts her menstrual cycle early in life, or an elderly lady that goes through menopause later in life have received a longer span of estrogen."

Myers said one in six women will have non-invasive breast cancer like Hennis, but the key to keeping it that way is early detection.

"Almost up to 90 percent of non-invasive breast cancers we are able to cure," Myers said. "That's the whole point, if we catch them early then they're still non-invasive and we can take care of them."

With her treatment coming to an end, Hennis said she's glad she took care of herself and scheduled her mammogram.

"You know it's your yearly, time for your yearly...go, because they told me had I waited three to six months my story would be totally different,"  Hennis said. "I would probably be in at least a stage one cancer."