Cannon found help where she worked when diagnosed with breast cancer

October 8, 2017 GMT

Editor’s Note: This is the second story in a five-part series about breast cancer survivors that is appearing in the Aiken Standard each Sunday in October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, Marie Cannon was able to get help in familiar surroundings.

“When I went for my yearly mammogram, like clockwork, they thought they had seen something,” said Cannon, who is an Environmental Services Department employee at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. “They rushed me right over to the hospital that same day for a biopsy. They weren’t wasting any time. They did the biopsy, sent it to the lab and it came back positive.”

At first, the North Augusta resident was upset and felt a little bit overwhelmed.

“A friend of mine at work, Willie Smith, said, ‘Miss Marie you don’t act the same,’ and I told him I had breast cancer,” Cannon remembered. “He said, ‘Miss Marie, don’t let that worry you. You’ll be all right.’ And it seemed like that was all I needed to hear. After that, I didn’t worry too much about it anymore.”

Cannon ended up undergoing surgery. Dr. Robert Terry performed a lumpectomy on her right breast.

“He is a great surgeon,” Cannon said. “I love him, but I wouldn’t say I have a crush on him; I just like him. He has a great personality.”

In addition, Cannon said, Cancer Breast Health Nurse Navigator Carolyn Cook of the Cancer Care Institute of Carolina provided valuable assistance.

“The way I look at it now, it could have been worse,” Cannon said. “A lot of people are way worse off than me, especially with the chemo and all that.”

Cannon received radiation treatments for 1½ months.

“You get weak and it takes away your energy,” Cannon said. “There were good days and bad days. But I believed in working every day to keep my mind off of it.”

Cannon, 62, is semi-retired now. She has five daughters, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

When asked what advice she would give to other women who are concerned about breast cancer, Cannon said, “I would tell them to have a yearly mammogram. My situation might have been worse if I didn’t have a yearly mammogram.”

Cannon also had a suggestion for women who receive breast cancer diagnoses.

“Trust God and put your faith in him,” she said. “I’m a church-going lady and believe in God. I knew that he already knew what the outcome for me was going to be, and that helped me a lot.”