WILMINGTON -- Nearly 180,000 women battle breast cancer every year, according to the American Cancer Society. But you can beat it. Rugena Devone has been working at the Zimmer Cancer Center for the past five years treating people with breast cancer. Then earlier this year she became a patient. Devone said, "I was doing my monthly self breast exam in March and something told me to feel my left breast and when i did i felt a lump." She received an ultra sound and mammogram and doctors confirmed her fear. "My family doesn't have a history of breast cancer so i was surprised myself to even get it," Devone said. Devone's doctor removed the lump and began chemotherapy to prevent a recurrence. And when the chemo took a toll her husband stayed by her side and went the extra mile. "I lost my hair within a month, not the 12 to 14 days, and I didn't loose it all, it just started to come out," Devone said. "So I had him shave my head and he also shaved his head." Mrs. Devon received treatment here at the chemo unit at the Zimmer Cancer Center, where there are ongoing clinical trials to find the newest and best cancer treatments." Cancer surgeon Dr. Cyrus Kotwall said, "In breast cancer one of our big clinical trials is we're always trying to save the women chemotherapy." The doctors are doing clinical trials to find out which group of women with breast cancer will benefit with chemo, so in the future not every breast cancer patient will have to undergo the treatment. But for Devone chemo was her only option -- and so far, it's been successful. She now focuses her energy on helping others fight the battle. "Some people are worried about there hair falling out and I say when you come into this world you don't have any hair so just look at it as a baby being reborn all over again," Devone said. Dr. Kotwall wants to remind women to do their self breast exam once a month, and if you do notice anything different with your breast, talk to your doctor. Early detection will increase your chances of survival.
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