LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - At 70 years old, Tibby Lynch is still a working woman. Juggling her career and her health had never been an issue until July 2007.
"We had no history of cancer in my family," says Tibby, "I had yearly mammograms." But that mammogram was different. Tibby's doctor found a suspicious area and had to perform a biopsy to check for cancer.
"My doctor called and told me that it was definitely cancer," says Tibby, "I went in the other room and sat down with my co-workers and said, 'I have breast cancer, can you believe that?' because I was just shocked."
Fortunately for Tibby, the cancer was caught early enough to be successfully treated with chemo and radiation treatments. Oncologist Henry Goolsby with The Clinic says early detection is key to a patient's survival. "Advances that were made 20 and 30 years ago with the screening or mammography and actually finding the source of the breast cancer much earlier are allowing us to treat them when there's less likelihood of the disease having gone to other organs in the body," says Dr. Goolsby.
If the cancer has spread, treatment can be much more intense. Dr. Goolsby says, "Breast cancers and many cancers tend to go to other organs very early on and our technology still is unable to see all of the spots, so the additional chemotherapy and radiation that we give is based on that premise."
Louisiana has the second lowest mammography screening utilization in the nation. Tibby isn't letting her co-workers fall into that category. "I say, 'come on, we're gonna do this now,' says Tibby, "and we go and sit down, I call and make the appointment for them, ask them if they agree that's a good time and that's how we get it done...it's just a reminder."
And something that could keep one more woman from losing a late fight with the disease.