Early Detection Leads to Huge Relief

Meadow Bailey’s family, from left, are daughter Ella Bailey, mom Felicia Riedel, Meadow and daughter Symone Bailey.

“We found this mass. This area of concern. It makes me think cancer.”

“Are you really saying cancer to me?” Meadow Bailey asked her care provider in disbelief, a new reality about to settle in.

Meadow, not yet 50, had checked all the boxes for healthy living. Exercise and spin classes. Nutritious eating. A job she loves, a caring family and good life balance. Check, check, check.

“I’d like to live to 120—a good 120—doing everything I can to live a quality life for as long as I can,” says Meadow, director of external affairs and public relations at Golden Valley Electric Association in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Thanks to her annual mammogram, which she had August 3, Meadow’s prognosis is good. Because of early detection and timely treatment, her radiologist told her she just may live to 120.

Early detection makes all the difference with breast cancer, which is why Meadow offered to share her story so soon after the unsettling health news. She also felt inspired by a friend—diagnosed with breast cancer months earlier—who walked her through every step of the process.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month—a time to raise awareness about the impacts of breast cancer, the importance of early detection and the need for timely, high-quality care.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That is one person every 12 minutes in the United States. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people delayed regular screenings.

Meadow, who models healthy living for her daughters, urges others to advocate for themselves and their health by getting routine exams and checkups, including mammograms.

For her, it made all the difference.

Meadow looks back in gratitude for the swift medical care, her supportive cooperative colleagues at GVEA—a family, she says—and the loved ones who rallied around her when August turned into a month nobody anticipated.

To learn more about breast cancer, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website.