Patient Stories: The importance of mammograms
Andrea Darden, a social worker and married mother of three, never noticed anything was wrong. She attended her annual mammogram, the second one she had ever had, as part of a perfectly normal regular health screening. Doctors quickly zeroed in on something abnormal.
Darden was subsequently diagnosed with early-stage triple-negative breast cancer, a type of breast cancer associated with a specific mutation of an inherited gene that creates a higher risk for both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Despite no family history of either disease, Darden carried the inherited gene mutation making her more likely to develop both.
Prisma Health surgical oncologist Julian Kim, MD, and a team of specialists quickly started Darden on chemotherapy to prevent the spread until they decided on a longer-term treatment plan, which ultimately resulted in Darden choosing a double mastectomy.
“The survival rate of breast cancer has improved so much over the past several years,” said Dr. Kim. “Increased awareness, early detection and improved treatment have really come together to make an impact.”
Darden achieved her PhD and is now free of cancer and wants to emphasize to anyone who hears her story the importance of regular mammograms, even if you haven’t yet noticed any symptoms.