Clinton County woman battling stage two breast cancer after missed mammogram

Published: Oct. 30, 2017 at 2:08 PM EDT
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A mammogram follow-up turned out to be news a 74-year-old woman from Clinton County wasn't prepared to hear.

News 10 spoke to her about her journey after being diagnosed with breast cancer including the challenges and advice she has for others.

Carolee Smith has had annual mammograms since she turned forty because breast cancer runs in her family.

"Three nieces that had breast cancer that are younger than me. Sister with breast cancer. My mother with breast cancer, so there has been a lot in our family," she said.

This year's came four months late because she was on vacation. Her doctors say a longer delay could have made things much worse.

"I had had it done like that before and its been nothing, so I was a bit surprised when they called and said you have to go in for a biopsy."

Doctors told Carolee she had stage one breast cancer. After removing a lymph node they bumped it up to stage two. Carolee remained positive and said her faith is what pulled her through the shocking news.

"I couldn't believe it, because, I couldn't feel anything. I really wasn't scared I just have a lot of faith in god and I knew he would take care of me," said Smith.

She didn't have to do chemotherapy, but had radiation treatments five times a week for six weeks. Her husband of forty-five years and her family helped her keep fighting.

"My husband and my children and my grand-kids were my lifeline of support," she said.

Carolee's advice for other women -- be persistent with your health and if something feels wrong don't wait to have it checked out.

"Its crucial. If I hadn't have caught mine when I did it would have been much worse," she said.

Carolee is doing well, but the radiation does wear her out. She'll will have her last check-up in December.