CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A Clay County mom is warning women to check themselves for breast cancer.
When Vernice Grossglass was diagnosed in April 2018, she says one of her first thoughts was of her son.
"I want to see him married, and there's just so much for me to still see and do," she said.
She is among one in eight women who develop breast cancer during their lives. She said doctors who treated her at Mayo Clinic were one part of her support system that got her through her toughest days.
"That's a big part of the healing process, really, and beating cancer," she said.
Related: Patients, doctors turn to 3D mammograms to help detect breast cancer, save lives | October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Orange Park police wearing pink badges in support | Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk of Jacksonville
On Tuesday, she joined a room full of other survivors and people who were recently diagnosed. Mayo Clinic hosted the breakfast with the goal of giving them a space to spend time together and share stories.
Mayo Clinic's Dr. Saranya Chumsri was one of several doctors at the event. She told Action News Jax that some studies show less than half of breast cancer patients complete the last phase of treatment.
It's a hormone blocker pill patients take for five years. If they don't finish the treatment, the cancer can come back.
"They think because their cancer is already out, they've already had surgery to resect the tumor, then why do they need to take this treatment?" she said. "And then a couple years, of course, it spreads and comes back."
STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Chumsri wants to draw attention to the importance of finishing treatment. She says early detection is also key.
"Do your self-breast examination, because I did, and that's how I found it. I did my own before my annual mammogram," Grossglass said.
Grossglass said catching her cancer early meant she was there for one of the most important days of her life, the birth of her grandson, Archer.
She's now cancer-free, but she's helping to find a cure. She's a participant in Dr. Chumsri's latest clinical trial. The goal is to develop a vaccine that can cure or prevent breast cancer altogether.
Cox Media Group