For Judy Sipos of Indiana it was routine. It was something she had done regularly for about 20 years. With no history of breast cancer in her family, the 58-year-old Sipos had little concern when she scheduled her mammogram in April.
Recovering from recent knee surgery, Sipos said she decided to have her annual mammogram before returning to work at Indiana Hospital.
“I’m pretty good about getting a mammogram,” she said. “I never expected to find anything. I never had any issues.”
But Sipos and her husband, Gary, were shocked when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
“He was pretty upset,” she said. “He lost his mother to a form of cancer. It really hit him pretty hard.”
The cycle of chemotherapy and radiation treatment began for Sipos as it will for the more than 232,000 women expected to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the United States this year.
Sipos said surgeons removed the cancer and she has finished chemotherapy.
She recently completed 36 radiation treatments.
“They felt they got it pretty early,” she said. “I feel good. The chemo was pretty tough and radiation is grinding.”
Sipos has returned to her job.
She is grateful for the support of her family and co-workers.
She’s also quick to mention a higher power.
“God is there,” Sipos said. “There is something greater that is going to help me get through this.”
For Sipos, the key to saving lives is for women to have routine mammograms.
“I tell everybody I’m the poster child for getting routine mammograms,” she said. “I get them faithfully and a yearly checkup.”
Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on twitter.com/PatBuchnowskiTD.