'Fest for Life': Cancer survivor says event saved her life

'Fest for Life': Cancer survivor says event saved her life
Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 4:05pm

UPDATED: Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 4:13pm

Hundreds of people came out today to see if they're cancer-free. It's all a part of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center's Fest For Life, where people can get free cancer screenings.

For Bertina Dent, it saved her life.

"That one time when you stop getting screenings is that one time something may happen," Dent said. "My story began right here on these grounds April 2013."

A story that's made Bertina the person she is today.

"I was trying to tell the doctor what I thought it was. I said 'Well, maybe it's a cyst,' and she said 'oh no, honey. It feels like the knot that you have is stuck on your chest wall.'" Dent explained.

It was cancer.

"I went for further reviews, and later on, I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, which is a cancer that affects young women under the age of 45," Dent said.

Now, a year later, Dent is a survivor. She's cancer-free. She thanks Fest for Life for her life and wants to help others by sharing her story.

"So I am very thankful today that I was able to get the help and assistance needed, and now I want to give back telling my story and encouraging other women," Dent said.

"Fest for Life" is a free health event featuring free screenings including breast, prostate, skin, colorectal and oral cancer.

"Early detection is key. If there is nothing else I could ever say, early detection is key," Dent said.

"Well we know that early detection saves lives, and so what we want to do is give everybody the opportunity to come out, have cancer screenings done, and then have some piece of mind in knowing that everything is fine for the next 12 months or to take the necessary steps to resolve any issues they may have," said Johnnay Benjamin, the Director of Early Detection and Education at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

Fest for Life is an even that recognizes Minority Cancer Awareness Week. Nearly 3,000 people have been screened for cancer since 2008 when the event began. Nearly 90% of those screened are minorities.

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