PEORIA, Ill. -- More people are beating breast cancer than ever. That also means more people are living with the side effects of treatment.
Shirley Meils admits she hadn't had a mammogram in six years. The 63-year-old had no family history of breast cancer.
Then, last fall she felt something during a self-exam. A biopsy revealed she had invasive ductal carcinoma.
"When you're dealing with cancer and then you have extra pain on top of it, it's overwhelming," said Meils.
Following surgery, Shirley began radiation treatments. The life saving surgery, which included removal of some lymph nodes, and the radiation have led to Lymphedema -- a potentially lifelong battle with swelling and stiffness in her arms.
"It's very painful and it makes the mobility, the range of mobility, it takes away from that.," she said.
So, Shirley visits Jennifer Gibson at the OSF Center for Health. Gibson is a certified Lymphedema therapist and part of OSF's STAR program.
STAR -- survivorship training and rehabilitation -- is a nationally recognized survivorship certification focused on improving the lives of survivors who suffer from the side effects caused by cancer treatments.
Shirley's prognosis is good. She's feeling better and she gives a lot of the credit to her therapist and the STAR program.
Shirley discovered her cancer through breast self-exam. So, she wants to remind you to do your self-exam and encourage a friend to do the same.