Goldie’s Story: Annual Check Helps Detect Greenville Woman’s Breast Cancer Early

Goldie-White_350x350_SclMdA diagnosis of breast cancer at age 84 caught Goldie White by surprise.

The invasive ductal carcinoma was found during White’s annual mammogram. She underwent surgery to remove her left breast in December 2019 at Miami Valley Hospital North in Englewood.

“I was shocked,” White said of the mammogram that detected the cancer.

She didn’t undergo radiation or chemotherapy but was given a chemotherapy pill that has caused a rash. An analysis will be done to determine the best route to follow next. In the meantime, she is getting used to wearing a prosthesis.

“I never had the first pain, from surgery or anything,” White said. “I think that’s wonderful.”

While recovering from her surgery, White found a purpose that allowed her to combine long-time sewing skills with a desire to protect others. She has made hundreds of face masks complete with linings during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The masks have been donated to Miami Valley Hospital North; the office of Thomas Heck, MD; a nursing home where White’s sister resides in Eaton; at Fram where her daughter, Sandy White, works; and at the local Goodwill where she used to work as a cashier and now volunteers as time allows. Her most recent project is sewing Ohio State University-themed masks for her daughter’s coworkers.

“I am trying to save all of these other people. They have to have masks with the virus going around,” White said.

A Greenville native and 1953 Greenville High School graduate, White attended beauticians’ college in Piqua; sewed baseball uniforms as part of her job duties at General Athletics for several years and then at two other businesses before retiring 40 plus years later. She went to work as a cashier at Goodwill at age 77, then had to leave to allow more time to exercise.

She shares her home with Sandy, where they tend to a yard with flowers and a garden. Goldie

White said she enjoys canning from her garden and making pina colada jam.

White urges other women to have their mammogram.

“It is not really that big of a problem if the right person gives it to you,” she said. “It is better to have the mammogram and know that you are clear than not, and it’s too late.”

Dr. Heck of Gem City Surgeons said White’s yearly mammograms paid off. “There were no masses we could feel. The mammogram showed these abnormalities,” he said. “It was early stage and turned out quite well.”

The message for women is the mammogram will show a possible problem often before something is felt in a physical exam, said Dr. Heck, a MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician.

However, he said, one shouldn’t downplay the importance of women having both types of exams each year – the mammogram and the physical breast exam by a health care professional. In a small percentage of cases, cancer does not show up on a mammogram. “It can make a big difference in your treatment, and future,” Dr. Heck said.

You can schedule a screening mammogram online, or call (855) 887-7364(855) 887-7364 Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., or Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Women without insurance coverage may be eligible for a free mammogram or other women’s health services. Call (866) 8-3889(866) 8-3889 to see if you qualify.

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