Advertisement

Killeen woman touts early detection as key to breast cancer remission

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 5:47 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - There are nearly four million women in the United State who have a history of breast cancer. Data shows nearly one in eight women in the U.S. will also develop the disease.

Experts say early detection is crucial because the odds of surviving the dreaded form of cancer are greater as a result of advances in medicine, according to breastcancer.org.

Laura Weiser Erlandson, an associate professor of biology and chair of sciences and mathematics at Texas A&M Central Texas, is now in remission after completing the last set of her surgeries and other treatment nearly two years after her cancer diagnosis.

“I never thought I actually had it. I never did,” Weiser Erlandson said.

It was a diagnosis almost missed, she said.

She was called back after her annual mammogram in 2019 because of an anomaly. After a few ultrasounds and calls back to the office, doctors found she had a rare form of cancer.

“I think I went through all of those stages at once, you know,” Weiser Erlandson said. “The denial, the anger, the being upset.”

They were able to catch it at an early stage and moved in with immediate surgeries.

The ordeal meant meant time off from her job and away from her students.

“I was, honestly, devastated. I think I was more devastated about having to miss their graduation than I was scared about going in for the surgery,” Weiser Erlandson said.

A friend and colleague, Debbie Morrison, said she also noticed Weiser Erlandson’s dedication to work as she was going through treatment.

“She looked very weak and was going through her chemo treatments,” Morrison said.

When Morrison asked Weiser Erlandson what she was doing at school, the cancer patient answered, “my students need me.”

Morrison also helps organize a team for the annual Killeen breast cancer walk. It was through that event she learned about her friend’s diagnosis.

“That was the year I was walking behind Dr. Laura,” Morrison said. “She had pulled off the trail and she was crying, so I immediately went to her and that’s when she informed me that she had breast cancer.”

It happened shortly before the beginning of pandemic and that meant Weiser Erlandson had to go to chemotherapy and radiation treatments alone.

“My husband was able to come with me through the first couple of chemo treatments and then that was it,” Weiser Erlandson said. “The pandemic hit, nobody was allowed to come in.”

She now has to see an oncologist every three months for regular check-ups, but said she is now in good health.

“I could’ve had it the next couple of years and not known it because I couldn’t feel it and it wasn’t showing up,” Weiser Erlandson said.

Copyright 2021 KWTX. All rights reserved.