Perlov urges women to do monthly breast exams and get regular check-ups. She hopes by talking about her situation she will increase breast cancer awareness.
"She didn't volunteer for the role, but it's a role she has now. And she will embrace that," said Dawn Bryant, an attorney for the Raleigh Police Department and a breast cancer survivor.
Women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day. Those diagnosed with breast cancer nowadays have a much better chance of survival than just a few years ago.
For most women, doctors recommend a mammogram every year. Kim Crocker, a two-time breast cancer survivor, has one twice a year.
"The first time I had a lumpectomy, had radiation. The second time I had a bone marrow transplant," she said.
Stem cells from her own bone marrow, in combination with radiation and chemotherapy helped Crocker beat breast cancer.
"There's better and better early detection. There's new therapies that are coming out," said Dr. Julie Tabor, director of the
Rex Breast Cancer Center
Taber says patients today have more information and more options.
Women who have had breast cancer or those with a strong family history of the disease can get MRI scans that can detect tumors earlier than mammograms. Results often show false positives, so doctors only recommend the MRI for high-risk patients.
However, advance in medicine does not replace awareness.
"It's important to know that the best thing you can do right now is know your body. Early detection is the key," Taber said.
Once cancer is found, Crocker says a positive attitude is essential.
"What got me through it was my family. My husband was awesome. He just, he was by my side constantly," she said.
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