GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – We first met Marinette’s Patti Behrens just over a year ago, when she shared her story of surviving breast cancer. We recently checked back in with Behrens and found out how year two of breast cancer survival can be much different than year one.
“At first, I was kind of scared, but now I’ve moved on,” Behrens said.
She says she spent much of that first year waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“I think the first year I always feared more cancer, but now I don’t look at it like that,” Behrens explained.
Behrens’ fears were not irrational. She’s watched several women in her family endure surgery, radiation and chemotherapy after a breast cancer diagnosis. She’s also seen that cancer come back.
“I was really lucky. They caught mine so early, I had no chemo, no radiation,” Behrens shared. “Both of my sisters had to go through that.”
In fact, it was that family history of breast cancer that led Behrens to the Multi-Disciplinary High-Risk Breast Cancer Clinic at Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
“You meet with specialists from breast surgery, oncology, and genetics all in one visit,” explained Molly Linzmeier, a nurse practitioner with Aurora BayCare. “So, that’s what happened with Patti during that visit. Because of how high her risk was, we recommended she have a breast MRI. In the MRI is where we found her cancer. That’s why we recommend it.”
Linzmeier has been with Behrens every step of the way. She says Behrens’ case is a good example of why early detection is so important.
“We just want to educate women on what you can do to be proactive about your breast health,” said Linzmeier. “There’s additional screening that helps to catch something, perhaps earlier than we might have if we had waited another year for another mammogram.”
What does that mean for Behrens?
“Because it was found so early, it was a very swift treatment and easily treatable,” Linzmeier explained. “One hundred percent survival is what we would expect for Patti.”
With that kind of prognosis and not just one, but two years under her belt now, Behrens says she can relax a little and enjoy those 16 grandchildren of hers. However, there is still one thing she plans to keep working on; and that’s getting this message out.
“The biggest thing is finding it through detection, mammogram, or MRI,” Behrens said. “That’s what’s going to save your life.”
Appearing on television to share such a personal story about your health, is not an easy thing to do. Behrens has done it twice now. Not only does she hope her story can encourage other women to get screened for breast cancer, but Behrens says she agreed to share her story because she feels so grateful for the care she received at Aurora BayCare.
If you’d like to know your own risk for breast cancer, go to: aurorabaycare.com/assessments to take an online breast health assessment.