Woman encourages others to make time for mammogram
One Harrison County woman is hoping others like her will do something important for themselves: schedule a mammogram.
Ivonne Hernandez was one of a handful of women to have the simple procedure done at the Norton Healthcare Mobile Unit last year when it set up at First Harrison Bank in Corydon. A mammogram often can detect cancer in its early stages.
‘One of my mother’s sisters died of breast cancer,’ said Hernandez, who turns 50 this month. ‘I decided to have a mammogram because they needed volunteers.’
Hernandez is one of an estimated 231,840 people who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. And women aren’t alone; about 2,350 men were expected to be told last year that they have breast cancer.
Breast cancer ‘ the most common cancer for women in the United States ‘ generally begins in the lobule glands, used for milk production, and ducts that connect lobules to the nipples.
‘My first thought was my kids; how was I going to tell them,’ said Hernandez, who was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and raised in El Paso, Texas.
She and her husband, Jorge, have three children ‘ Elisa, 27; Roberto, 16; and Victorya, 13 ‘ and two grandchildren. A resident of the Corydon area since July 2004, Hernandez has been employed at Indiana Utilities in Corydon since 2014.
Since her diagnosis, her youngest daughter decided she wanted to do something to help. So, Victorya has been growing her hair so she can donate it this year at the Pink-A-Palooza kick-off on Saturday. Hair that is at least eight inches long can be donated for wigs for cancer patients. Victorya chose to donate hers to Children With Hair Loss, which gives free wigs to any child who needs one.
Saturday’s event will include the return of the Norton mobile unit, which will be at First Harrison Bank from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are time slots available for women who do not have health insurance to have a mammogram. To register, call 1-502-899-6842.
‘Cancer is not easy,’ Hernandez said. ‘It is the most difficult thing I have done. But it has showed me who were the important people in my life, and it also helped me grow spiritually.’
Since her diagnosis, Hernandez will have 20 treatments of chemotherapy (scheduled to be complete in February). Also, she will finish 26 rounds of radiation on Tuesday.
Asked if she has a message to other women, Hernandez said, ‘I would tell other women that it only takes about an hour of their time to get a mammogram.
‘This is something that can save mommies, daughters, grandmas and friends,’ she said. ‘I feel very lucky my cancer was detected early because the cancer was one of the aggressive ones.’