ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) — Erin Hensley is recovering from a double mastectomy and five months of chemotherapy after a breast cancer diagnosis in late 2020.
“Luckily, I was stage one,” Hensley said.
The 39-year-old mother of three from Arvada has a family history of breast and ovarian cancer. She had planned to get a mammogram at age 35, but life got busy, and she put it off.
“Thirty-five came and went, 36, 37 and then the pandemic happened,” she said.
Hensley continued to put off the mammogram until her nurse practitioner took charge and got the ball rolling. Images showed a tumor, and testing confirmed an aggressive form of cancer all in the middle of the pandemic.
“I had the mastectomy, and then I had to have the reconstruction surgery. I kind of got my COVID vaccination in between chemo ending and that surgery,” she said.
Testing showed Hensley has the BRCA gene mutation as well and in the coming weeks, she will have her uterus and ovaries removed.
“Right now she seems to be doing great,” said. Dr. Karng Log, Hensley’s oncologist at Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge.
He wants to remind other patients not to put off routine screenings because they could save their life.
“We did see a drop in mammograms and screenings, but again now it’s more important than ever to kind of catch up,” Log said. “The chance of cure is highest the earlier it’s captured.”
He and Hensley share the same message: Don’t wait for the end of the pandemic or for your schedule to lighten up. “Don’t procrastinate,” Hensley said.