JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jamey Jo McCoy says she's done Buddy Check 12 for years. Last year on December 12th, she found a lump.
Not just any lump.
A big one.
She says it felt like a hard egg.
And sure enough, her doctors at Baptist South confirm her tumor was 4 inches by 2.5 inches, quite a large size for a breast cancer.
So thank goodness Jamey Jo found the cancer and didn't let it continue to grow inside her breast. She has become a Buddy Check 12 success story.
Her doctors, Dr. Jeff Edwards and Dr. Mark Augspurger, say they were able to shrink the tumor with chemotherapy and then due surgery. The procedure went so well that they were able to save her breast. She didn't choose to have a mastectomy and so everyone was pleased.
On top of that, the doctors tested her lymph nodes before surgery and found the cancer had not spread. Good news again.
So why did Jamey Jo become a success story? Dr. Edwards says "her self-exam technique" was the right thing to do. He emphasizes that doing "Buddy Check" is important. Jamey Jo was checking often enough that she noticed a change, and that's critical according to Dr. Edwards.
Dr. Augspurger tells women, "Get to the doctor right away" to get checked. The earlier you find cancer, he says, the better your results.
Keep in mind, though, that 80 percent of lumps are not cancer. So don't panic. Just try to get medical advice. And remember that only a biopsy can tell for certain if there's cancer or not.
Jamey Jo also teaches us another lesson. Like many women, she first thought the change in her breast was from exercise. Maybe a pulled muscle? But she could feel "edges" on the area and that doesn't fit with a swollen muscle or sore area. So she called the doctor on the 13th last year, the day after Buddy Check Day. She says on the 17th she was at the Hill Breast Center getting tested.
Now Jamey Jo is working to support others fighting cancer through the non-profit group, Pink Heals. Firefighters, law enforcement, and volunteers take pink fire trucks and pink cars all over our area to boost the spirits of people fighting any type of cancer. Pink Heals' Kelli Meacham says they are willing to help where needed.
To reach Pink Heals, go towww.sjcpinkheals.com
or call 904-813-6388.
Jamey Jo is determined to spread her message. Buddy Check "saved my life," she said. Meanwhile, she admits she was scared at first but she's learned the outcome can be terrific. "I feel great," she said.
By the way, Jamey Jo had a unique way of showing people they can battle breast cancer. Just a short time after her treatments, she scaled half-way up a rock wall at a Pink Heals event.
If you want a Buddy Check 12 kit, we'll mail you one or more for free. Just call our partner, Baptist, at 904-202-CARE. We mail them anywhere in the world.