Princeton, W. Va. (WVVA) - Betty Pettry was diagnosed with Her2 negative breast cancer eight-and-a-half years ago, and it was one small precaution she took that saved her life.
Breast cancer runs in Betty's family, so she started getting mammograms much earlier than most women do. But it wasn't the mammogram that caught her tumor. It was her self-examination.
"February of 2012, just from August 2011 to February 2012, during a self-breast exam, I felt a lump and immediately scheduled an appointment," Pettry said.
It had been less than a year since her last mammogram, and a seven inch tumor had formed.
"You're just in shock, you're terrified, you don't know what to expect," she said.
Betty then underwent 20 weeks of chemo and 32 radiation treatments, all leading up to one decision... lumpectomy or mastectomy.
"I chose the mastectomy because of the severity and the type, because they said the chances with Her2 negative, it would come back. That was a very hard decision... that's a life-changing decision."
But Betty's journey didn't end there. Then came complications with her reconstruction.
"I said, you know, I'm tired of it. It's not worth it. Take the implant out, another life-changing decision during that process. Do the bilateral mastectomy," she said.
And now on the other side, all Betty wants to do is share the importance of self-examinations.
"Do it monthly because it is very important. Like I said, the mammogram did not pick up on mine. I did, and if I hadn't have done that, I probably would not have lived a year."