HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Sheryl Simoni knew growing up that her family risk for breast cancer was elevated so she never missed a scheduled mammogram. During a screening during breast cancer awareness month in October her doctor, Kristen Zarfos spotted something suspicious. Sheryl was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“First I saw Dr. Zarfos and I had a lumpectomy. After that I had eight rounds of chemo every two weeks,” says Simoni.
Dr. Zarfos is the medical director of the Karl J. Krapek, Sr. Comprehensive Women’s Health Center at Trinity Health of New England Medical Group’s Saint Francis Hospital. She found Sheryl to be inspiring.
“She’s a great example of someone who took care of themselves, had their mammograms and she’s alive many years later,” says Dr. Zarfos.
Sheryl made the conscious decision to remain positive throughout her treatments after seeing a close friend become very negative in their breast cancer battle that they eventually lost.
“I knew through her that I didn’t want to do that. I wore funny hats, I had somebody different with me every round of chemo and we did fun things,” says Simoni.
Mammography has reduced the mortality rate from breast cancer since the 1990s, but Dr. Zarfo advocates for people taking healthy measures to bring their risk of developing breast cancer down.
“Being physically active four hours a week can decrease your risk of breast cancer by 37 percent. More than three alcoholic drinks per week according to the Dana Farber study increases your risk of breast cancer,” says Dr. Zarfos.