‘Don’t wait:’ Wilmington mother urges screening after beating breast cancer during COVID-19

Survivor talks about the importance of breast cancer screening

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Aubrey Lueck is a successful entrepreneur and a mother of two kids. She’s also a two-time cancer survivor.

“You think ‘not me, it’s not going to happen to me,’ you know it’s not going to happen to me because that’s that’s for other people,” said Lueck.

Lueck had already beat thyroid cancer nearly seven years ago. This spring, just a week after getting her first mammogram, the single mom was officially diagnosed with breast cancer—invasive ductal carcinoma.

“And I of course screamed and cried and was like, ‘this can’t be happening to me again...you know, I don’t think I have the strength to go through this again,' but you know they assured me that it’s gonna be okay and I had options,” the single mother said.

"We talked about her options and met with the plastic surgeons for the bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction and she did really well through it,' said her surgeon, Dr. Max Benenati of Novant Health.

She will forever be thankful for the doctors and nurses that led her through the journey, but knows her outcome also has a lot to do with having caught it early.

“I’m so grateful because, what if I didn’t go get a mammogram? You know, it could’ve been a different story,” said Lueck.

Dr. Benenati says a lot of people aren’t getting screenings like they should. The director of the National Cancer Institute warned this summer that delays in routine screenings because of the pandemic could result in increase in deaths in the coming years.

Doctors are encouraging women who put off screenings to reschedule them as soon as possible.

“There’s so much research and so much advancement in the technology for breast cancer and it’s no longer a death sentence. I think that there’s a lot of fear these days—people are avoiding getting worked up or treated for breast cancer or even thinking about it because their grandmother had such a bad outcome,” said Benenati.

Lueck’s surgery was the same day hospitals began cancelling their surgeries for fear of COVID-19. Her mission—urging people to get screened early means even more as the world reopens following the coronavirus.

“The message is don’t wait. It can make a difference between the best case scenario, which I had, compared to maybe a very long process, or fighting for your life,” Lueck added.

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