North & East

Africa trip cut short saved breast cancer victim's life

Monday, October 14, 2019

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Carol Whyte cut her trip to Africa short when she discovered a lump in one of her breasts.

A week and several tests later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It was early detection that saved me,” she told the Jamaica Observer North & East two Fridays ago at a function put on to raise awareness in Portland.

Today, Portland resident is celebrating 19 years cancer-free and is encouraging women to not shy away from mammograms.

“I was diagnosed within a week and a week after I had surgery and I had six rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation. It is not an easy journey but if God is in your mind, in your heart and you think positive and work with what you have you can move mountains.

“You can't overdo it, you can't go back and do the same things you used to do before, you have to work with the energy that you have. My biggest problem was the energy and I had a full-time job and I had to take care of myself but I did it.

“I have always done the every year mammogram and that is very important and I try not to miss one because early detection is the key and also finding good people in your lives when you are going through it. If you don't want to talk to your family call the different organisations and find somebody to talk to because it can be like a death sentence but it is not,” she shared.

Though the average age of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Jamaica is 52, which is eight years younger than the global average of 60 years, according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Whyte was diagnosed at 40.

Approximately 60 per cent of women in Jamaica diagnosed with breast cancer are between the ages of 25 and 59, while about 25 per cent is over the age of 60.

“It is like a car accident and nobody leaves this earth without something and what you get is how you deal with it. I try to do the best I can every day and not try to overdo it,” Whyte noted.

“I worked at a hospital and we had an awareness date and some people get afraid because they think they going to catch it and I remember some of my friends would laugh at me because they would say, 'You work out all the time. You eat good, so how come you get it?' I say it is just one of those things, but I am not going to let that stop me; with God's help, I'm going to continue to live.

“I recommend that persons go and do the mammogram and don't stay away from it. It is better to go and do it than stay away and don't wait until you are 50 and then find out that you have two weeks to live. If they were doing the test the possibility is that it can be detected and they are alive. Do your checks annually and even if your physician does not recommend it go and do it because they cannot deny you, it is for your own personal protection,” she continued.


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