Dr. Elaine Morganelli recommends her patients get a mammogram at age 35 -- instead of 40 -- because that's what she did.
"Just right here in my office I had one done. I didn't suspect anything, I didn't feel anything. I was just doing it to be proactive and screening," said Dr. Elaine Morganelli, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Stamford Hospital.
Shortly after that screening, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I really had no choice but to undergo a mastectomy," said Morganelli. "I chose to do bi-lateral just because I didn't understand why at my age without any family history, not many risk factors, why I'd be getting breast cancer."
Morgenalli received chemotherapy treatment for four and a half months.
"It was really hard because I had two young children. My daughter was not even a year when I was diagnosed and my biggest fear was that I was not going to be here to see her grow up," said Morganelli.
She was diagnosed in 2011, and in 2013 is cancer free. She says that screening saved her life.
"It has taught me to appreciate things more and not to sweat the small stuff as much," said Morganelli.
Morganelli will walk in the hospital's Paint the Town Pink campaign fashion show again this year. (To take place Sat. Oct. 26 at the Italian Center. Call 203.276.6143 for more information.) The campaign promotes early detection and raises funds for patient programs. She says her office turns pink during October, as staff supports breast cancer awareness month.
"I am not the only breast cancer survivor here in my office. So my office is extremely supportive and the other day we all wore pink. It was fun," she said.
Morganelli continues to share her story with patients, and high school students in Stamford (She will be speaking to students at Stamford High School Oct. 15 and Trinity Catholic High School Oct. 23) -- hoping to touch someone else's life.
"If I had waited and done the mammogram when I was supposed to at 40," said Morganelli, "Life probably would have been very different."
(Photo in story provided by Dr. Morganelli.)