When it comes to a serious diagnosis like cancer, you never think it’s going to happen to you, or to the people you love, until it does.

Marilee went in for a routine mammogram when her doctor found two suspicious lumps. Her doctor then sent her in for an ultrasound to take a closer look. It was determined they would take a biopsy of the lumps to test for cancer. The biopsy came back positive for breast cancer.

A few weeks later, Marilee underwent surgery to remove the lumps. Marilee’s doctors also removed a few lymph nodes to determine if the cancer had spread. She found out soon after her surgery that her lymph nodes were healthy. 

“It was because of early detection that the cancer didn’t have time to spread,” Marilee said.

Because it was caught early, Marilee has a choice in her treatment, and will not have to have chemotherapy. A simple, routine mammogram was the difference between a treatable diagnosis, and a potentially life-threatening disease.

Most insurance companies cover preventative screenings. Through our Kaiser Permanente insurance with Catholic Community Services, all cancer screenings, including breast cancer screenings, are completely free. Employees also have access to supplemental insurance that can help cover out-of-pocket treatment costs.

However, despite all the preventative health care available to CCS employees, only a small percentage are taking advantage of this benefit. 

“The day before I found out I had breast cancer, I also discovered the percentage of women of age to have mammograms in this organization has dropped,” Marilee said. “So I want to make sure everyone has their preventative screenings – even the men!”

Marilee is healing from her surgery and is finishing out her treatment. Despite her close call with cancer, she can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude.

“I had the best scenario: It was caught early, I work in a very supportive environment, I have good insurance and Aflac, and I had great support from family and friends. Not everyone is that lucky.”

To find out more about cancer screenings, click here.

For questions about employee benefits, contact Marilee at [email protected].