'I'm a survivor." Bridgeport woman treated for breast cancer stresses importance of yearly screenings
A Bridgeport woman wants to share a powerful message with others after she was treated for breast cancer.
RELATED STORIES: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Carmen Brooks says she found out at her annual breast exam that she had cancer last year.
“They found that it was a tumor underneath my left breast. I was a wreck, I was crying and I was upset, naturally,” Brooks says.
Dr. Brigid Killelea was able to remove Brooks’ tumor.
“Once we do the surgery, we take another picture of the piece that's removed to make sure we have what's called our target,” she says. “Her cancer was caught at such an early stage that she did so well with treatment and her prognosis is excellent."
Brooks is one of 11 children, but she is the only one in her family to get breast cancer. She did not need chemotherapy but had radiation treatments and took medicine.
"I am a survivor,” she says.
Dr. Richard Zelkowitz, with Hartford HealthCare, is Brooks’ oncologist. He stresses the importance of mammograms and says if you're informed, you won't be afraid.
"It’s all about early detection," he says. “This is not a death sentence. This is a curable disease."
Brooks says all the support from her doctors and family got her through the tough experience. She knows firsthand that these screenings are so important.
"Don't be afraid to go get tested. Don't be afraid to go have your mammogram,” she says. “I'm willing to get the message out there anything I can do to save a life."