By April Morton

(CBS DETROIT) – Kimberly Willis loves to uplift and inspire people though her gospel singing. But in the spring of 2017, she found herself needing some encouragement.

“By the time I got to diagnose day from the actual doctor I was already kind of prepared for it because everything was leading up to that’s what it probably would be,” she said.

During a self-breast exam se felt a lump. With no family history of breast cancer and being too young for recommended mammograms, she went solely on her gut and scheduled a visit to the doctor.

“At the age of 34, I was diagnosed with stage 3 A breast cancer,” she said.

With that diagnosis, her life as a wife and mom of four changed in an instant.

“Several surgeries, I had a partial mastectomy, I’ve had 15 rounds of chemo, I had six weeks of radiation,” she said.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Doctors say early detection increases the chances for survival.

“Ideally contained within the breast or even the breast and the lymph nodes under the armpit can still be potentially curable,” said Dr. Katie Beekman, medical director for IHA St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.

Beekman says that’s why it’s important for women to speak with their doctors about when to have a mammogram. She says like in Willis’ case, if you feel something is wrong, seek medical attention.

Now in remission, Willis says she has a new lease on life. She’s written a book to help spread awareness of breast cancer and just as she did prior to her battle, continues to encourage and uplift others.

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April Morton

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