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Northland woman shares her personal message to women about breast cancer

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DULUTH, MN -- Jeanne Carroll is no stranger to hospitals.

She spent three decades in one as a social worker and, more recently, as a patient.

In January, Carroll went for her yearly mammogram and got news no one wants to hear.

"That was on a Thursday. On Monday I got the call that there is a cancer," Carroll said.

At age 64, Carroll was diagnosed with "Stage 0" breast cancer, also called pre-cancer.

Her family does not have a history of breast cancer, but Carroll was faithful to her annual screenings, so doctors caught it early.

"I have always thought, 'Well, that's not what I had planned.' And I certainly didn't plan that, but you go forward," Carroll said.

20 radiation treatments later, Carroll is cancer free.

Her story has a happy ending; one women rarely hear.

"Everybody doesn't have that story, and there are people who have fears because other people had not the best outcome," Carroll said.

Carroll wants to share her story so women know they should not fear the screening process.

"The message here, especially during breast cancer awareness month, is early detection, because mammography is our best weapon against breast cancer," she said.

Carroll's doctor, Dr. Anne Silva-Benedict, said early detection saves lives.

"Early detection is the key for breast cancer because they are curable, which means considering self-breast exams, screening mammograms, clinical breast exams," Silva-Benedict said. 

These two women want to reverse the stigma about mammograms.

Carroll said her screening experience was pain-free, and she felt supported throughout her diagnosis. Instead of fearing cancer, Carroll wants women to take action.

"Now I'm empowered, not just to have those thoughts, but to go forward and say to people, 'Did you have your mammogram? Did you schedule it?'" she said.

Carroll is empowered to live her life focused on the future.

"I live with wanting to have no regrets, and I have no regrets about how I carried on this experience and how I reached out. I'm very grateful," she said.

Click here for more information about the support resources available to people with breast cancer.

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Kendall Jarboe

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