More than 2,300 Mississippians will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. A Homewood, Mississippi woman's story of battling the disease.
Twenty-nine and married with two young children, Andrea Harrison of Homewood, was in disbelief when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. Her doctor found a lump on her left breast. The lump didn't show up on a mammogram, but it did on an ultrasound.
"There was no symptoms. I never was sick. I was not a big breast checker, you know self check anything like that," said Harris.
Doctors told Harrison the cancer had spread to her liver and bones. Over the past two years, doctors removed both her breasts. She's undergone rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, bone treatments and takes the drug Tamoxifen. The stay-at-home mom is under the care of a medical team that includes surgeons, pathologists and medical oncologist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Sophy Mangana is her Radiation Oncologist and says teams meet weekly.
"The importance of the multi-disciplinary approach is that the patient comes to one place and gets to see everybody, usually on the same day and we talk about the treatment plan for that patient," said Mangana.
Mangana says Harrison is doing well. Now 31, Harrison says she lives each day to the fullest for herself and her family.
"Nobody gave me a survival rate. It's basically, it's not if it comes back, it's when it comes back Ms. Harrison," said Harrison.
The American Cancer Society's new guidelines recommend women begin annual screenings by age 45. But they should have the option to begin screenings at age 40, if they choose to. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.