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Orcutt survivor's message to women during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted at 6:57 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 23:38:39-04

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and health care providers explain that despite the pandemic, it is still important to get annual checks, like mammograms.

Tayna Wilson beat cancer nearly a decade ago. This past summer, after contemplating whether to get a mammogram during the pandemic, she decided to go in for an annual check-up.

While she wasn't expecting any issues with her health, she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time.

She said leading up to the mammogram she "felt fine, like it was no big deal."

Her experience with cancer this time was very different from her first.

"With this particular cancer, I couldn’t feel it and as much," Wilson said.

She warns that people may "think they know their bodies, (but) you cannot necessarily feel if you have breast cancer or not. You may not be able to feel it.”

We spoke with Tayna's doctor and Breast Surgery Specialist at Mission Hope Cancer Center, Dr. Monica Rocco, who says that annual checks are critical.

"Unfortunately, during the pandemic, many people do not want to come out and do screening mammograms because they are afraid to leave their homes, but what we know is cancer does not stop for a pandemic,“ Dr. Rocco said.

In a show of support, her family members shaved their heads to uplift Tayna from a distance while she stays at home due to COVID-19 concerns.

“A lot of people like to say it’s not going to happen to me, or I don’t know anybody with breast cancer," said Jennifer Calbillo, Tayna's sister.

Jennifer says that she "didn't know anybody with breast cancer either" and that they also had no family history of breast cancer.

Tayna has one message for women during this month:

“I would highly recommend to go. Get your mammograms, get your colonoscopies, get whatever tests you need because you just don’t know and the consequences could be devastating if you don’t find out.”

Tayna tells KSBY that although her battle has been challenging, if her message can help just one woman detect breast cancer earlier, then she has found her purpose during this time.