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Breast cancer survivor credits self exam and positivity for getting through treatment

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 7:09 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Natalie Hatcher was discussing women’s health with her daughter in July of 2018 when she noticed something that caused concern.

“She told me she knew she was supposed to be doing self breast exams and I showed her how to do one and at that point I found something that I never felt before which was a lump in my right breast,” she said.

“I know it was something I never felt before; it was concerning to me which made me go ahead and call my doctor to be seen.”

Hatcher moved up her mammogram appointment and soon after was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

That’s when she decided to put herself in a state of mind that got her through 16 chemotherapy sessions, a lumpectomy and 33 radiations.

“I told myself and my family that we had to be strong through it all, I stayed positive; I kept working through the whole process and all the treatments because I felt that I needed to be around other people and that being alone was not something I wanted to do,” she said.

“I needed advice I needed a shoulder to cry on when I got in a certain mood but then I got myself out of that as soon as I could.”

Hatcher has been cancer-free since April of 2019 and her oncologist, Dr. Muhammad Salamat, credits the fact she listened to her body for preventing a longer and harder battle.

“Any cancer which is treated early is curable potentially, especially breast cancer,” he said.

“For females it’s very important to have a self breast exam to make sure there’s no lumps or bumps found not only that we also stress they should have a regular check-up with a physician and also start screening at baseline 40 years of age."

Salamat said getting patients to have a healthy outlook on treatment is an important part of the healing process.

“It’s always tough on somebody who has been diagnosed with cancer, it’s always tough on the patient but over the period of time we try to give them hope,” he said.

“We try to take the person as a whole and we try to do things not only from a physical perspective but a mental perspective and making sure they are comfortable with each and every part of their disease, whatever it is diagnosed as and how we’re going to proceed and what we are going to do.”

Hatcher said her cancer fight has given her a new outlook on life.

“I think you have a better outcome with positivity... I think positivity is half the fight.”

"I wake up everyday with a positive attitude, I don’t take the small things for granted and I know that life can change drastically in any moment. "

Hatcher works as a medical assistant at Cotton O’Neil and continues to emphasize the importance of self-breast exams to all her patients.

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