Sisters Fight Breast Cancer Together
For any woman who has just found out she has breast cancer, the diagnosis
could be a difficult time for her and her family. For sisters Carol
Vanwinkle, 48, and Carlene Campbell Mooneyham, 42, of Pikeville, Tenn., a double
diagnosis of breast cancer became a time of comfort and support as they endured
the mental and physical challenges of cancer together.
Last October, Carol’s annual mammogram at the Erlanger Bledsoe Campus
revealed signs of breast cancer. Realizing Carlene had never had a mammogram,
Carol convinced her younger sister to get the test.
Two weeks later, Carlene had her first mammogram. Like Carol, she had a
retest and a biopsy at the Erlanger Baroness Campus. Results showed the
two sisters had invasive ductile cancer in the same area of the left
Both Carol and Carlene had partial mastectomies in November and began the
same treatment protocol.
Dr. R. Phillip Burns, chairman of the department of surgery at the University
of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga, performed their surgeries and said
that their prognosis was “very good.”
“With early detection you can have a very good outlook,” said Carol.
“Everybody should have a mammogram.”
With support from their family and friends, the sisters were never alone
through the diagnosis, treatment and recovery stages of breast cancer. Though
the sisters have always had a close relationship, their diagnosis brought them
“God really worked wonders,” added Carlene.