WESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) – A Tucker County woman is cancer free after being treated at Mon Health Stonewall Jackson. Now, she is encouraging other women to know the signs of breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

A release from Mon Health said that Rebecca Filler discovered a lump in her breast last winter and quickly made an appointment to see her doctor. She received a breast cancer diagnosis in February 2021.

“Before my surgeon, Dr. Ron Pearson gave me the biopsy report, I knew deep in my heart that it was breast cancer,” said Rebecca. “It hit me hard because my aunt had breast cancer and though she eventually succumbed to ovarian cancer, I knew what I would be facing.”

Rebecca had surgery to have the mass removed at Mon Health Stonewall Jackson. Two weeks later, she had a port inserted to provide injections of chemotherapy drugs, which she received for a year. Then, she had radiation treatment five days a week for one month.

Filler said the staff at Mon Health Stonewall Jackson took excellent care of her. “They fed me and waited on me, these girls were just great.”

Now, as a cancer survivor, Filler will be the guest speaker at the annual Lewis County Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon to tell her story. The event will be on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the Broad Street Church in Weston.

“Breast cancer screening and early detection play an important role in a women’s health. Screening tests can help detect breast cancer at an early stage when the chances of survival are highest. I had been very diligent about receiving my mammograms and performing self-examination. I might not have found that lump if I had not been conscientious about monthly self-examination,” she said. “Get your mammogram. Do your breast self-examination. Eat healthy. And walk every morning if you can.”

Breast cancer cases that are caught and treated in the early, localized stages have a 99% survival rate, but a recent study by InnerBody found that almost 10% of those surveyed never check themselves for signs of breast cancer, and almost 1% said that if they did discover a lump on their breast, they would do nothing about it.

How to self examine

Self-screening is one of the earliest and easiest ways to detect breast cancer and why Rebecca Filler got the care she needed as fast as she did. Regular and consistent self-screening is integral for optimal breast cancer wellness.

During self-screening, people look for any irregularities in the breast tissue and on the surface of the breast, including:

  • Lumps
  • Dimples
  • Spots
  • Signs of irritation
  • Thicker skin
  • Changes in size or shape
  • Nipple changes (including redness, blood, discharge, scaling, or inversion)

When self-screening, make sure to look up to the armpit because breast tissue can also continue into that area. Self-screening does not mean that women shouldn’t get mammograms as well. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that women who are 50 or older or have a history of breast cancer get regular mammograms every two years. Other health organizations recommend starting as early as 40 and getting regular exams are often as every year.