PRINCETON, WV (WVNS)– Mammograms are recommended annually for all women over 40 to help with early detection of breast cancer.  But for one Princeton woman, rescheduling a skipped mammogram saved her life. 

Carol Herald-Tabor has always been diligent about conducting her monthly breast exam.  Twenty-one years ago, when she found nothing wrong, she decided it would be fine to skip her mammogram.  A few months later her doctor rescheduled.

“That’s when they found it,” she said. “I was devastated. But, I went ahead and did it. It was just like the size of a pea. They did a lumpectomy and took the lymph nodes underneath my arm.” 

After her surgery, she started chemotherapy every three weeks for six months, followed by radiation. She told us that it didn’t hit her that she was fighting cancer until the side effects of the chemo started to take a toll on her body.

“The first time my hair came out, I sat on the bed and I started crying because your hair is everything to you,” she added. “But as you would go on, I said, ‘It’s just hair.’ That’s why I wore a cap all the time.”

So, after 12 rounds of chemo and three months of radiation, she was declared cancer-free.  Now, never skipping a mammogram, Carol had a scare in September 2021 when they found another pea-sized lump. 

“Which was the same thing, just a little nodule,” Herals-Tabor said. “They did a biopsy, no cancer. That was scary, 21 years and then all of a sudden, bam.”

The lump ended up being benign, however, it reminded her of her diagnosis 21 years ago and how her story of strength can be used as a reminder to never skip your annual exams. 

“Please, go get your mammogram no matter what,” she added. “If you think that you don’t need it, and ‘It’s not going to happen to me.’ That might happen to you, get one, it’ll save your life.”

Carol said she relied on the support of her friends, family and church through her fight and her second scare.