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Survivor stresses importance of mammogram, self-exam

SHE’S A SURVIVOR — Breast cancer survivor Charlotte Elliott was diagnosed in 2016 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and now she is enjoying life and sharing a message of strength and hope with others during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Elliott presently works through the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities as a custodian at the School of Bright Promise. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — When it comes to being a breast cancer survivor, Charlotte Elliott is a true all-star.

Elliott, a Steubenville resident and employee at the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, recalled that moment in 2016 which changed her life.

“I had a lump under my arm,” she said. “I found it when I was taking a shower one night.”

She hesitated to visit her doctor but followed through a week later, and it proved to be a life-saving decision when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“They caught it in time,” Elliott recalled. “They said if I let it go too long, they probably couldn’t do anything about it.”

She underwent surgery to remove the tumor and lymph nodes followed by a course of chemotherapy and radiation treatments over a 16-week period at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center.

During that time, she also lost her hair and watched her weight drop to 90 pounds. Elliott said the love and support of family, which includes her two children, and friends helped her through the tough times, and she also credited her then-Support Service Administrator Michael Gromczewski for transporting her for treatment. She noted that others at JCBDD even took time to call and check on her.

Elliott was given a 50-percent chance of survival, but nearly five years later, she is in remission and is grateful to her doctor and the Teramana Cancer Center for giving her a new lease on life.

She still visits her doctor every six months and works at the School of Bright Promise, where she has served as a cook and currently performs custodial duties throughout the week.

“I like working here. The people are so nice,” she added, saying in her spare time she enjoys being home with her dog and two cats.

She dons a pink jacket and matching face mask emblazoned with small pink ribbons and such words as support, fight, believe and hope in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Elliott does speak to others about health and stresses the importance of a mammogram and self-examination.

“I want to tell people to try not to worry,” she concluded. “If you see a lump, go to the doctor.”

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