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Success Story

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 breast. 

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 even closer. 

“God really worked wonders,” added Carlene. 

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