Ohio woman says annual breast screenings saved her life

CLEVELAND, OH - "I had had a lump removed when I was like 25." Bessanne Hustosky says it wasn’t cancer though.

Still, Hustosky, 59, of Parma had been going in for an annual mammogram ever since.

But six weeks ago, a mammogram and subsequent ultrasound revealed a lump so small, she never would have found it during a self-breast exam.

Hustosky said, "The biopsy revealed that it was cancer. It was caught early. It was a small cancer and a week later, I followed up with a surgeon."

Bessanne underwent a lumpectomy, an outpatient surgical procedure in which a lump is removed from the breast, typically when cancer is present but has not spread.

Doctor Laura Dean, a Cleveland Clinic radiologist, treated Bessanne and stresses that early detection is key to survival.

Dean adds, "The best chance of saving lives from breast cancer, really the best chance that we have in finding cancer is when they're very small. When we find cancers that are small, they can be more easily treated. The cancer that we found in Bessanne was very small, it was four millimeters in size so very small and not something she would feel. That's why the mammogram is very important."

Bessanne has been undergoing radiation treatments since her surgery and today feels healthy and strong.

She says it’s a support system, including her 29-year-old son, boyfriend and four siblings, that keeps her going.

Hustosky adds, “It's just silly to not go for your mammograms. I mean it's once a year. Just do it. Because the longer you put off going for a mammogram, the higher risk you have of a cancer growing. Mine was caught early, and I'm getting through it."