Breast Cancer: Addie's Story

Addie Vaughn, 61, had been putting off her regular mammograms. The COVID-19 pandemic made it hard for some people to keep up with their regular check-ups and health screenings, and Addie was no exception. 

After some convincing from her primary care provider, Dr. Iyunoluwa Agboola, and her daughter, Addie got a mammogram. And then she got a phone call.

Agboola informed Addie she had stage 1 triple negative breast cancer, which is an aggressive type of cancer commonly diagnosed in Black women. Addie needed to start treatment right away, and Agboola helped her make appointments with an oncologist and a surgeon.

Treatment Journey & Support

“After my diagnosis, she had all the doctors aligned for me,” Addie said. “I didn’t have to call any doctors or do any research. (Dr. Agboola) was part of my support system and took the stress off my shoulders.”

Addie’s care team quickly arranged her treatments. About a month and a half after her diagnosis, Addie had a mastectomy to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy to target the cancer cells that had already spread. Now, she’s been in remission for two years. 

Addie credits her family and her doctors for being her incredible support system.

“My daughter and her in-laws were phenomenal,” Addie said. “My daughter was able to take me to all my appointments, stayed for every chemo treatment I had.”

Cost Should Not Be a Barrier to Care

At the time, Addie did not have health insurance. Because the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes, her oncologist Dr. Kate Lathrop insisted she start treatment regardless of coverage. 

Addie scheduled her chemotherapy treatments, and now thanks Lathrop for her guidance. The cancer did not continue spreading and Addie was able to obtain proper health insurance.

“There are no excuses to delay visits and screenings,” Addie said. “The best thing you can do is look for resources … and ask for payment arrangements because cancer is serious.”

Early Detection Saves Lives

Addie hopes her story inspires women to stay on top of their health screenings and schedule their regular mammograms. “If you don’t have a primary care provider, get one. And get yourself early screenings,” Addie said. 

“This is one of the things I know saved my life,” Addie said. “If I would have waited to get my mammogram, I wouldn’t be able to tell my story. Early detection saves lives. It saved mine.” 

Breast Health at University Health

Learn more about our breast cancer and breast health services at University Health.

Subscribe icon
Get healthy living and wellness information, recipes and patient stories from University Health.

Tell us your patient story

Share your inspiring personal story of hope and healing at University Health.