Overcoming Cancer Through Early Detection

Melissa Bunch and Rosanne Hutchison providing education on the importance of getting screened and early detection.

Outgoing, bubbly, and energetic is a good way to describe Melissa Bunch; known to her friends and peers as Mel, she also is a cancer survivor. The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a survivor as anyone living with a history of cancer — from the moment of diagnosis, through the remainder of life.

Bunch is a program coordinator for Southcentral Foundation Health Education and knew about the importance of getting screened through her work with the cervical and breast cancer team. Bunch even received a letter in the mail with information about getting screened — but put it off. She later decided to practice what she preached and made an appointment to get screened.

After getting screened, Bunch was told they found abnormal results, which led to more testing. Subsequent testing revealed a cervical cancer diagnosis. Scared, she began thinking about the potential negative outcomes; like, what if I can’t bounce back? However, she was thankful because the early detection results helped improve the potential for a positive outcome and allowed her to begin understanding what next steps best supported her on her path toward wellness.

While going through the diagnoses and treatment, Bunch’s strength came from family, friends, and her provider. They were with her every step of the way. Thanks to the education she received as a part of the cancer team responsible for connecting with customer-owners, she knew early detection saves lives.

Bunch has been cancer free since November 2018. She takes active part in the Power of Hope Cancer and Education Social Group, where she enjoys connecting with others, listening to their stories, and sharing her story.

Screenings allow the opportunity to talk to your primary care provider about family health history and your risk of cervical cancer. Depending on personal and family health history, your provider will recommend a screening schedule that’s right for you.

For more information about Power of Hope, contact Health Education at: (907) 729-2689.

by Benjamin Merkouris

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