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Montgomery Co. Councilmember Battles Breast Cancer | Weather

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Montgomery Co. Councilmember Battles Breast Cancer
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GARRETT PARK, Md. (WUSA) -- Last month, Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Floreen announced on her blog that she had early stage breast cancer. She felt nothing when she did her breast self exam; neither did her doctor during an annual clinical exam.

It took a mammogram screening to find the suspicious mass. Early detection is the key to beating breast cancer and that is Councilmember Floreen's message now.

Nancy Floreen's entire public life has been in service to the people of Montgomery County, Maryland. She was Mayor of the Town of Garrett Park; since 2002, an at-large member of the County Council; and she served a one-year term as Council President in 2010.

These days, the councilwoman is taking it easy, cutting back on some of her public activities while she recovers from breast cancer surgery.

"Luckily for me it was a pretty small tumor and could not be detected other than through a mammogram," Floreen says.

She had a lumpectomy and lymph nodes under her arm removed in late May at Suburban Hospital's out patient clinic right after the council finished work on the budget.

"You can't let these things dominate your life especially when I've come to realize how many women are dealing with this," says Floreen.

Before her diagnosis, there was no reason to think breast cancer could ever dominate her life since there was no family history. But in fact that's typical of the 70% to 80% of breast cancers diagnosed in women.

David Stewart, Floreen's husband of 37-years, says the diagnosis was both alarming and surprising.

"She's the healthy one. Did she tell you her dad lived to be 104 and she favors her dad, so you just don't expect Nancy to be sick," says Stewart.

And it's likely she can still have as long a life as her father. Floreen's prognosis is excellent because the cancer was found at an early stage.

Elizabeth Thompson, President of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure says, "Last year in our country alone, 40% of the women eligible weren't screened."

Thompson adds, "Screening is absolutely essential. And then if we move people from screening to diagnosis to treatment very quickly and very early on in this stage in their breast cancer diagnosis, we can cure those women. We can make a difference for those women."

Urging others to get checked out is now Floreen's mission too.

"I have heard from people who've said 'yes, I've made my appointment now.' I'm one of the real, real lucky ones and I will never forget that," says Floreen.

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