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Your Healthy Family: 3 Southern Colorado sisters travel breast cancer journey, part 3

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

Julie Edmunds is the younger sister of twin sisters Karon McCormick and Karol Scott.  Karol was diagnosed with breast cancer 20 years ago when it was caught on a mammogram at UCHealth Memorial.  

After Karol’s diagnosis, Karon was religious about getting a yearly mammogram, but considered skipping a year, after nearly 20 years of clear scans.  In the end she listened to what she calls that small voice in her brain, had her mammogram at UCHealth Memorial, and that’s when a lump was found, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Julie also began having yearly mammograms when Karon was diagnosed, and was also thinking of skipping a year, but also decided that was a bad idea.

Julie says, “Ever since my sister got it 19 years ago my other sister and I have been very diligent in getting our mammograms.  We (both) thought after twenty years we could skip one."

Julie also was treated at UCHealth Memorial like her sisters and when two small lumps were eventually found and tested positive for cancer in her right breast, she didn’t hesitate in moving forward.  “There were two spots in two areas and so therefore I had to get a full mastectomy.  Because they were going to take the right breast I said, ‘I don't want this hanging over my head for the rest of my life, so go ahead and take the left one too’, so I recently had a double mastectomy.”

Julie has always looked up to her older sisters and continues to do so.  She was back to work 3 weeks after surgery at UCHealth Memorial, and credits her sister’s example for how they each handled their individual breast cancer diagnosis.  “Because I saw my two sisters walk through it so incredibly well, I wasn't as afraid as I normally would have been.  I saw how they handled it, and also I was just overwhelmed with gratitude that we caught mine early.”

Now these 3 sisters who 20 years ago had no family history of breast cancer, are 3 survivors because of mammograms and early detection.  Julie says, “85% of women who are diagnosed have no family history, which is it's pretty discouraging to hear.  A lot of people think ‘well I don't have a family history so I have to worry about it’, and that's not true at all.  We had no family history and now our daughters and our granddaughters know there is family history and they have a little bit of a red flag to watch.”

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