Children Cut Mother's Hair Before Lost to Chemo, She's Living Proof of New Cancer Research

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, it couldn't be more fitting that new research has come to the surface about mammograms.

A Marshfield Clinic oncologist found that women who miss annual mammograms are diagnosed with higher-stage breast cancer.

Dr. Adedayo Onitilo, who led the new study, said the research was based off of 1,400 breast cancer patients in the Marshfield Clinic system, but the findings apply worldwide.

That's why Dr. Onitilo said the work has gotten a lot of recognition, it's going to help a lot of people.

One local woman, Lisa Taylor, is already living proof of the research, and her family helped her through the fight.

Her children think the world of her.

"She's really encouraging," Nathaniel Taylor said.
"She's really caring," Sarah Taylor said.
"She's a good singer," Benjamin Taylor said.
"She's really nice," Aaron Taylor said.

When they heard she'd been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer November 2012, they couldn't believe it, and either could she.

"I thought it's never going to happen to me," Lisa Taylor said. "It never it happens to people who have their mom and sister and their aunts who had it. I don't have anyone in my family with it. Zip."

Her children took her bad news of upcoming chemotherapy and turned it into something good with a chemotherapy party, with a "bald" cake to embrace her along with doing the honors of cutting her hair off before it would fall out from treatments.

"I sat in the chair, and they cut my hair," Taylor said. "I thought it was going to be sad, but this happened: all i saw was (snip) Pure joy."

She wouldn't have been able to embrace and fight through it with her family if it weren't for Dr. Onitilo recommending an MRI after finding pre-cancer cells in her left breast during the mammogram.
The MRI found the cancer just in time.

"It was my first and last mammogram," Taylor said.

Taylor is living proof of a local doctor's recent research.

Dr. Onitilo said his new research not only shows that when women miss annual mammograms, they may be associated with higher-stage breast cancer at diagnosis, but that when women live further away from a mammogram center, they're more likely to miss a screening.

"You have more missed mammograms in the winter months compared to the summer and fall," Dr. Onitilo said.

Not only does his study show that weather plays a factor with where we live in central Wisconsin when it comes to getting to a center, but his findings dispute previous check guidelines. The ones issued in 2009 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that discourage routine mammograms for women younger than 50 years and recommend only biennial screenings of those between 50 and 74 years of age, according to the Marshfield Clinic's press release about the study.

"One size never fits all," Dr. Onitilo said after talking about personalized medicine.

For Taylor, the study couldn't hold to be more true. She was only 42 years old and said she went into her doctor for a physical before her deductible went up, and she said thank goodness she did.

"We really are making lemonade out of lemons," Taylor said about the fight through cancer as a whole, including her double mastectomy.

She said she thanks her doctor, his recent research and her children for making something so scary for many families into a life of hope and happiness.

Taylor said when she got her double mastectomy, which is one of the things most breast cancer patients dread, she opted for a new form of reconstruction named a Diep, where doctors make breasts out of fat cells from your body, stomach in Taylor's case, and use it to form breasts.

The study appears ahead of print on the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) website and will be published in AJR's November print edition.

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