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Abilene breast cancer victim shares cautionary tale for other women

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ABILENE, Texas - While the pink ribbons that line many locales for Breast Cancer Awareness Month will soon be replaced by holiday decor, one Hendrick Medical Center patient warns women not to forget about the scary words " breast cancer" throughout the year.

During a visit to Hendrick's Cancer Center on Pine Street, Susan Weber scrolled through her pictures on her phone and reflected on her six-month battle with breast cancer. In May, she found herself without health insurance and with a pending concern for the need of a mammogram.

" I noticed a lump in my breast and kind of was in denial, you know, it's nothing it's probably just a fibroid cyst," said Weber. She says it was her husband's persistence that finally made her get it checked. And within two days of her diagnosis, the process of her surgeries and treatment began. "It went so rapidly that I didn't have time to process it," said Weber. Unfortunately, she was already in stage two. Her doctor performed four surgeries in just three weeks. While she still has a long way to go in her chemo treatment, Weber is determined to beat cancer.

Her plan is to maintain a positive attitude and lean on the support of a team at the Hendrick Cancer Center, where patients like Weber are their inspiration.

"Just getting to work with patients, like Susan, that she comes in and she's a blessing to me. She teaches me to fight every day," said Linda Neill, manager of education for Hendrick Cancer Center.

According to breastcancer.org, one in every eight women will get invasive breast cancer. It's estimated that about 40,000 women in the U.S. are expected to die from the disease this year. While it's suggested that women start getting annual mammograms at age 40, the diagnosis for younger women is low, yet alarmingly possible and very scary to staff. "We don't expect them to get breast cancer in their 20s," said Neill.

In the meantime, Weber has become a mentor for new patients stunned by the diagnosis that no woman wants to hear.

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