“Early detection pays off. I am living proof of that.”

BARRY’S BAY – Last week, Lorraine Finn was busy pacing her living room floor, soliciting donations on the phone for the upcoming auxiliary article dabber bingo.

No one would ever guess that six months ago, this spry 73-year-old was diagnosed with, underwent surgery for, and recovered from breast cancer.

In fact, her bout with breast cancer was not as dramatic as one might think. She did not have to have a mastectomy, nor was she required to undergo chemotherapy or any other form of radiation. Since the tumour was caught early, Finn underwent surgery to remove the lump and she was home that very same day.

Her bout with cancer might not have been the same had she cancelled her mammography appointment, which was scheduled back in March 2016. As someone who had routine mammograms since the age of 50 (once every two years) with no positive results, Finn was going to put off the appointment, likely for another two years.

Today, she shudders to think about what could have been had she delayed her appointment for two more years.

Finn is an active volunteer with the mammography unit, helping every week as a receptionist for the past 16 years. She phones clients to remind them of upcoming appointments and eases the nerves of women who are experiencing mammograms for the first time.

“I didn’t want to let down the girls in mammography,” Finn said on why she kept her scheduled appointment.

When the results came in that something had been spotted during her screening, Finn felt something she never thought she would.

“I thought maybe I shouldn’t have had the mammogram,” Finn chuckled. “It’s funny how the mind works.”

Finn had no family history of breast cancer or any other cancers. Heart disease runs in her family, and both her parents died in their 50s.

“I was never sick, I would never have known,” she said.

So when she heard the news she had breast cancer, she was almost in a state of disbelief.

“It’s like pulling the rug right out from under you,” Finn said. “Your mind is racing and you don’t know what could happen. It’s an odd feeling. It really rattles your cage.”

Finn even had a nurse friend (who worked in mammography for years) examine her breasts.

“She couldn’t feel anything,” Finn said. 

Get your October 19, 2016 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.