Breast cancer doesn't always show symptoms

By Elizabeth Temple - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – Sherry Schofield felt just fine, so  when doctors told her she had breast cancer she says she was shocked.

"I feel great that's been one of the hardest things for me I never felt bad trough all of it," she exclaimed.

This March Dr. Joseph Strong, a surgeon at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, told Sherry she had breast cancer and that she needed a mastectomy. But how could she have missed it?

"It generally doesn't cause breast pain or any other symptoms in fact a lot of breast cancer is found through your mammogram with nothing you can feel," he said.

Sherry went for her annual mammogram and though she had no physical symptoms, like obvious lumps or pain, they told her she had to get a biopsy for a mass of abnormal cells on her scan. They found her cancer just in time, but because it was such a large mass Dr. Strong performed a mastectomy, or the removal of both breasts. He says that often times in less severe cases they can avoid this drastic procedure and opt to just take out the lump.

"There's obviously a significant cosmetic advantage to having you breast still present as supposed to not," he explained.

Doctors do these lumpectomies more often now with the same survival rate as mastectomies, as long as the patients undergoes radiation therapy. Sherry was glad to stay in Lake Charles for the entirety of her treatment.

"It would've been much more wear on me," she said.

She is through the woods now and is cancer free, but she has slowed down.

"I've had to learn to pace myself because I'd love to keep on going and doing and I don't like to say no to anything," said Schofield.

Dr. Strong suggests patients leave it to doctors to detect breast cancer not self-tests.

"It's never been shown to lead to earlier detection," he explained.

But he also says it can't hurt to do the self-tests either.

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