Breast cancer patient: Get your annual check-ups

Published 12:47 am Thursday, April 20, 2017

Everetta Lunsford has been faithful at getting her mammograms and annual cervical exam for years.

The 48-year-old had her annual mammogram last spring and all was clear.

But by the winter, she noticed a change in her breast.

“It looked like my right breast nipple was inverted,” she said. “I remembered reading in a book that, that could be a sign of breast cancer, but it didn’t really register with me at the time.”

Then, she noticed it again while taking a shower.

“I didn’t know what was wrong,” she said. “I knew my annual was coming up in January.”

Lunsford went to her exam and when the physician saw her breast during her exam it gave her pause.

She wasn’t scheduled to have her yearly mammogram until March.

“She sent me to the hospital for a mammogram and an ultrasound,” Lunsford said.

She had both and then went home.

“I made it home around 2 p.m.,” she said. “And around 2:30 p.m., I was watching the weather and the hospital called. The lady said, ‘Mrs. Lunsford, I need you to come back for spot X-rays.’”

Lunsford said she went back to the hospital for those X-rays because she wanted to know what was going on.

On Monday morning, she found out she had two cysts in her right breast.

She was told she needed a surgeon and a biopsy.

She decided to stay local and use Dr. Wells.

“It just so happened that they had a cancellation that day and I was able to go in that afternoon,” she said.

The following morning Dr. Wells was conducting a biopsy of her breast.

She found out for sure that it was stage 3 breast cancer.

Lunsford would have two surgeries in two weeks.

First, she had a partial mastectomy and then on Jan. 31 she had a full because the cancer was in her lymph nodes.

This week, she’s on her third round of chemo, which she is receiving at the local cancer center.

“The first four treatments I have to take every two weeks with Dr. Boatwright,” she said. “Then I have to have one a week after that.”

Then she’ll have radiation for six-and-a-half weeks with Dr. Hejal Patel.

Lunsford said she started losing her hair and shaved it off.

She said that so far the Phenergan she’s prescribed for nausea has helped and she hasn’t had any nausea or vomiting.

“God’s been with me,” she said. “People ask me what they can do for me. Just pray for me.”

Lunsford said she recommends that women get their annual exams every single year, no matter what, and if they suspect something is wrong get it checked out.

She said it’s important to keep an upbeat positive attitude.


The Relay for Life event is slated for April 21, at 6 p.m., at the Kiwanis Fairgrounds.

“And become a Christian,” she said.

Lunsford said she recommends that people going through cancer surround themselves with a solid support system.

“I have a large family, church family who are a strong support system,” she said.

The American Cancer Society has also helped her, she said.

“They gave me a wig,” she said.