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Posted: July 10, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Breast cancer survivor runs for her life

Submitted photo/

Team Radiology, a division of the larger team, was made up of Nicole Rivers, Ed Morgan, Deborah Henley, Pam Brown, Emmanuel Johnson and Cassandra Phillips.

Covington resident Joan LeJeune ran her first 10K race this Saturday in Atlanta’s globally renowned AJC Peachtree Road Race. "I have run in several 5K races, but never anything like this one," says Joan.

LeJeune was just one of the 55,000 plus runners from around the world who took to the streets in the July 4th tradition marking its fortieth year. Thousands of cheering spectators encouraged Joan and the others along the 6.2 mile route that began at Lenox Square Mall and ended at Piedmont Park where participants received the coveted race T-shirt.

Race T-Shirts feature a new design every year and are a big source of pride for those who can make it through the July heat and several uphill treks including the infamous Cardiac Hill near Piedmont Hospital. Professional and amateur runners alike consider themselves very fortunate to receive one.

LeJeune wears the T-shirt proudly as a symbol of survival of not only the race, but of her long struggle with a life threatening illness — breast cancer.

"I was diagnosed back in 2005 with cancer in my left breast," said LeJeune. She underwent a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy at Newton Medical Center. After a disappointing pathology report indicated the presence of more cancer, LeJeune’s surgeon scheduled her for a mastectomy. NMC oncologists prescribed additional aggressive treatment. After six rounds of chemotherapy and over seven weeks of radiation therapy, Joan’s cadre of doctors pronounced her as cancer free. A year later, she opted to have reconstructive plastic surgery.

Joan currently works as a registrar in The Women’s Diagnostic Center at Newton Medical Center. Some might consider LeJeune to be a cheerleader as she helps women every day who have made the decision to have a regular mammogram. "I make sure to schedule a yearly digital mammogram at the WDC for myself and I urge every woman I know to do the same," said LeJeune.

Digital mammography is the best means of early detection of breast cancer when treatment is more successful. The American Cancer Society recommends a yearly mammogram for women age 40 and older or sooner for women at high risk. For more information or an appointment for a digital mammogram at The Women’s Diagnostic Center, call 770.385.7800.

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