Cambridge woman reflects on her battle with breast cancer
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A month of awareness now holds a different meaning than it did a year and a half ago for Cambridge, Wisconsin native Ellie Tatro.
“I would always think that it would never happen to me,” Tatro said.
In February of 2021, Tatro discovered she had breast cancer.
After six rounds of chemotherapy, 30 rounds of radiation, 13 rounds of immunotherapy and three different surgeries, Tatro is making her way back to a normal life.
“It’s behind me now so I’m very, very happy to get my life back on track,” Tatro said.
Tatro said there was never any doubt she would overcome her battle.
“I always knew I was going to get past it because I’m a fighter,” Tatro said. “I wasn’t going to let it bring me down. I started doing a lot of research and I discovered that the odds were actually pretty good, even with stage four breast cancer.”
Tatro’s odds were no coincidence.
According to the American Cancer Society, the breast cancer mortality rate has fallen by 43% between 1989 and 2020.
SSM Health’s Dr. Dana Henkel attributes this decline to evolving research, technology and treatment.
“Our treatments are so much better than they were, say in the ‘80s or ‘90s,” Dr. Henkel said. “We have lots of new medications (and) chemotherapies. One of the things that is fairly new is targeted therapy. So taking somebody’s breast cancer, knowing very specific things about it and using a medication that’s very specific to their cancer.”
While the odds continue to improve, Tatro said it’s still important to get an annual mammogram.
“If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody,” Tatro said. “Everybody just needs to, especially women of a certain age, really needs to go in for that annual mammogram. It’s just so important.”
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