Breast cancer survivor Samantha Allen is back to work full-time at Fringe's Hair Studio and recently ran in the Fuzz Run. She urges all women to get regular mammograms, even if there is no medical history of breast cancer. Insistance on getting a mammogram saved her life. Staff photo by Erin Evans.
COVINGTON -- Social Circle resident Samantha Allen remembers the date and what she was doing when she first discovered a lump in her breast.
"I was actually eating dinner with my family and my hand went straight to it. That was on Sept. 27, last year," she said.
Since then she's undergone a double mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy, but she ran in this year's Fuzz Run and reports she is feeling fine.
"Everything has turned out great for me," she said.
Allen, 42, had no history of breast cancer in her family and had her first mammogram at age 40.
"At 41, when I went for my annual check-up, they said since I had no history of breast cancer, then I shouldn't have a mammogram, so I didn't have one. That was in May and it was in September when I found the lump," she said.
She then returned to her doctor who told her the lump she felt was a swollen lymph node, probably swollen due to shaving under her arms, and that she did not need a mammogram. But Allen persevered and convinced the doctor she wouldn't be able to sleep if she didn't have the lump checked out. It turned out to be stage two cancer.
Allen said the worst thing about a cancer diagnosis is the fear.
"It really is frightening to hear you have cancer. It scared me," she admitted.
Her treatment wasn't as bad as she expected.
"My doctor did a good job with me. I had great nausea medicine and I worked the whole time," she said. "The hardest part was losing my hair. I didn't like losing my hair, but I had a really cute wig. I got stopped all over town ... I'd be at the bank or grocery store and people would come up and want to know who cut my hair and it was that wig."
Allen is a beautician at Fringes Hair Studio on Newton Drive and one of her customers, Ginger, said she admired the way Allen went through her treatment.
"She didn't miss a beat. She worked the whole time and I think her working helped keep her mind off of it and she had the energy level to do it," she said.
Allen added that some of her customers didn't even know she was going through treatment.
"But it was really my faith in God that gave me peace and helped me through the whole thing," she said. "Staying busy and getting into the Word, it gave me peace so I could function."
Her advice to women who are tempted to skip their annual mammograms: "Definitely have a mammogram every year. For me, I don't have a history of it, but I got it."
Allen is married to Danny Allen and they are the parents of a 15-year-old daughter.