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Hundreds of people reached out to newly elected Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims earlier this year when she announced she had breast cancer.
Diagnostic tests detected the disease, and for Mims, who’d just fought through and won a campaign to become the first female sheriff in Fresno County history, a new battle began.
Mims, who underwent surgery Feb. 21 at Clovis Community Medical Center, explained how diligence and expert detection helped save her life.
“I had a history of biopsies that were all benign, until one day the doctor caught something,” Mims said.
Through the meticulous annual appointments she made and attended each year, her physician was able to compare the biopsies of past years and find the problem area.
“The doctor said because I was so up-to-date on exams, that it was easier to catch the cancer,” Mims said. “But it was still hard hearing that the spot we found was malignant.”
Mims didn’t hesitate in action. As soon as she learned she had cancer she figured the more information she could find the better.
“I asked questions and found out about all my options before I did anything,” she said.
After discussing her choice with experts, Mims chose to have a bi-lateral simple mastectomy, or double mastectomy, which is considered a more drastic treatment approach. She felt this was her best chance at survival.
After surgery, Mims was pleased with the diagnostic results – the cancer was non-invasive and had not spread to her lymph nodes, meaning she didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
Today cancer-free, Mims credits her positive outcome with early detection and the effectiveness of self-check programs.
“I am so glad that I was able to catch my cancer early,” Mims said, emphasizing the importance of annual check-ups.
Using the techniques she learned from the KSEE 24 Buddy Check program, Mims said she learned the right way to check for cancer as well as keep up on appointments for early detection.
During her battle, Mims was overwhelmed by the hundreds of people who called, dropped by and sent flowers, letters and prayers.
With the community and Clovis Community behind her, Mims said she has never felt better.
“I am cancer free, and you can’t feel any better than that.”
Mims reflects on the hospital that saved her life, “The atmosphere was welcoming and the staff wonderful.”
She had access to Clovis Community’s unique approach involving a team of physicians and specialists in one location. Mims said she wants to let other women know what saved her life and thousands of others.
“This disease is very treatable, if detected early,” she said. “And I will continue to be an advocate for women to get their regular check-ups.”
This story was reported by Kelsey Baker. She can be reached at MedWatchToday@communitymedical.org.