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'It Will Save Your Life': Breast Cancer Survivor Urges Critical Screenings

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) — While it can be easy to put off routine breast cancer screenings, Aimée Stahel says you can't. If she had, it may have cost her life.

"I think every woman has a love-hate relationship with this machine," she said, gesturing to a mammography machine inside a Medical Center of Aurora exam room on Monday morning.

Stahel found out she had breast cancer in January, and she was blindsided, to say the least. "I had no lumps, no bumps, nothing."

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An avid outdoor enthusiast, she and her husband Philp had just tackled more than a dozen fourteeners in a year.

"You think, 'not me.' I have zero family history. Nobody I know has ever been diagnosed. (I was) estrogen negative, progesterone negative, but HER2 positive, and that combination is extremely aggressive. They said if I would have missed my mammogram, it would've been a death sentence in six months," Stahel said.

Dr. Kimberly Wright, a breast radiologist with HealthONE Breast Care, says more women are missing their yearly checkups, even as we come out of the pandemic. Mammogram appointments are down by 8% since 2021.

"The risk of putting off a diagnosis and the survival rate is a detrimental risk," explained Wright. "And one-in-eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime."

As a survivor, Stahel is living proof that you can beat it, especially with early detection. She had a double mastectomy, and in March, she was cancer free.

"I ran a half marathon nine weeks post op. I wasn't clear for seven weeks, but I went out and winged it. Get out there have your mammogram and don't ever skip one. It can save your life. It will save your life."

LINK: Screening Locations

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