Early detection a key in breast cancer battle, according to survivor Corby Woods

Published 12:20 am Friday, October 27, 2023

It was nighttime when Corby Woods noticed something was different with one of her breasts.

That was November 2009, and she was suspicious, curious and a little bit nervous, so the next day she called her doctor. The doctor looked at the scans and said the spot could be anything but suggested she go to MD Anderson for examination.

Woods, who is the wife of former Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods, said the breast cancer was found in January 2010.

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“I was very fortunate, thankful and blessed,” Woods said.

Now, as of today, she is 13 years and eight months cancer free.

But there was a journey to get to this place in her life.

From February to August in 2010 she underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Corby Woods, who underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, is now more than 13 years cancer free. (Courtesy photo)

There were negatives against her, she said. One in eight women get breast cancer, so she started counting her friends, thus putting perspective on the statistic.

When the cancer occurred, she was in the best shape of her life. She was an avid runner, very cautious of what she ate and thought maybe she was overdoing it physically and pulled something.

Woods didn’t think her mind wanted to accept the “c” or cancer word.

Her cancer was in one breast and was contained, which was a plus, she said, and the doctor recommended a lumpectomy.

According to the American Cancer Society, a lumpectomy removes the cancer while leaving as much normal breast as possible.

Due to her age at the time, she was given chemotherapy as a precaution to make sure all cancer cells were eliminated.

Radiation, she added, was mandatory.

She credits Dr. Jane Angel with saving her life by sending her to the Houston hospital.

Woods offered words of advice to others.

“Early detection,” she said. “Because I had had a mammogram in May and it was found in November.”

Hers was not an aggressive type of breast cancer and Woods had all nine lymph nodes removed and all were clear of cancer.

The only family history she has with breast cancer is her father’s sister, and she is now 31 years cancer free.

Woods, who lives outside of Jefferson County, said she was once very involved with the Julie Rogers Gift of Life and participated in various walks and events.

“Breast cancer is a club nobody wants to be a part of,” she said. “And there are so many members, and so many are affected with a member who has it.”

Having support goes a long way in the journey — from the health care team to support groups, loved ones and faith, she said.