Radio personality discusses being a breast cancer survivor, importance of early detection

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published November 19, 2021

Photo provided by Cheron Sanders

 Sanders is pictured with her mom, Darlene Mans. After Mans encouraged her daughter to get a mammogram, Sanders was diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage.

Sanders is pictured with her mom, Darlene Mans. After Mans encouraged her daughter to get a mammogram, Sanders was diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage.

Photo provided by Cheron Sanders

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FARMINGTON HILLS – When she turned 40 years old in 2018, Mix 92.3 FM radio personality and Farmington Hills resident Cheron Sanders said she knew it was time to get a mammogram.

But with no family history of breast cancer and not being aware of any issues, she said she wasn’t in a rush and that there was no concern.

Sanders decided to cancel an appointment she had made to be examined for “no particular reason.”

However, there’s an old saying that “mommy knows best,” and when her mother urged her to reschedule the appointment, Sanders opted to listen.

She rescheduled the appointment for the following month.

Following her examination, Sanders was at an appearance for 92.3 on a Saturday.

After a couple of missed calls from her doctor during the appearance, she decided to go to her car to find out what it was about.

Sanders relayed what she heard on that call.

“She said, ‘I’m sorry I have to call you on the weekend, but I have some news to share. Your results came  back; it’s confirmed that you have breast cancer that’s gonna require surgery.’ That’s basically how she said it — point blank,” Sanders said.

Sanders shared what her initial thought was after hearing the news.

“With no intimate relationship with cancer — not just breast cancer; I didn’t have any intimate family or friends that suffered from cancer — I thought I was gonna die,” she said. “I literally thought I was gonna die.”

There is never a good time to receive a cancer diagnosis, but Sanders’ life circumstances at the time made hearing the news especially challenging.

She had only been married to her husband, Lencare, for about four years, and the couple had a son, Blake, who was under 3 years of age, and a 9-month-old daughter, Lark.

“I thought that was the end for me, that I was gonna have to leave my family,” Sanders said. “I immediately left my appearance and just drove home in the rain crying. I drove straight to my kids. That’s the first thing I wanted to do was hug my babies.”

Because it was an early-stage cancer, Sanders was able to avoid chemotherapy and radiation. However, she did have to have a mastectomy, which she said was “completely devastating.”

After getting her diagnosis, Sanders had to wait approximately six weeks to schedule a surgery, which was agonizing, at times.

Aside from the wait, it also didn’t help that she didn’t “know anyone like me.”

That changed when a friend made Sanders aware of someone who had previously had the same type of surgery she was facing.

“Up until the night before the surgery, I didn’t feel much comfort until I got on the phone with someone who had the same type of surgery that I had. She’s also around my same age,” said Sanders, who is from Lansing and graduated from Michigan State University. “I spoke with her the night before my surgery, and that’s what brought me so much peace, because I was talking to someone who had so much joy in her spirit. She was my age. She had the same surgery, and it was the picture of life beyond that night.”

Sanders, who has lived in the metro Detroit area for approximately 20 years, credited that conversation with helping her launch a nonprofit to help other women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I wanted to, in turn, help others and put a face on a younger diagnosis of breast cancer, and how there’s life beyond it,” she said.

The mission statement for Cheron’s SHEroes is, “Celebrating the superhero inside of you; providing women with support during their breast cancer treatment.”

Sanders launched a website, cheronssheroes.com, as a source of support.

“You don’t have to walk into a room; you don’t have to leave your house,” Sanders said. “You can see stories of other survivors from the comfort of your home. You can be encouraged within the comfort of your space.”

Sanders said her cancer was detected at the earliest stage. Fortunately, it did not spread, and breast tissue was removed.

“After surgery, I was free of any abnormal cells, cancerous or otherwise,” she said. “Although I say cancer-free, the medical term would be I’m in remission right now. … But now, I’m back to normal. Thank God.”

She said that, typically, after cancer hasn’t returned for five years, medical professionals are “kind of at ease.”

Sanders credited her mom with giving her life and saving her life, with the latter due to encouraging her to make an appointment to get examined.

Her mom, Lansing resident Darlene Mans, is grateful that Sanders took the advice.

“I am so grateful that I gave her that advice,” Mans said. “My faith is very strong, and I’m very thankful to God that I did (encourage) her to do it.”

Mans shared some advice for other moms about encouraging their daughters to get examined.

“I would check on them, make sure they’re on track; make sure that they have that focus in mind as they approach 40, because it is a milestone,” she said. “It is a time when we wanna make sure that we’re taking care of (ourselves), catching anything early, and knowing our bodies and so forth.”

Sanders addressed women who are past 40 years old and have yet to have a mammogram.

“They’re nervous about it; maybe they just don’t wanna know or they just don’t have any concern,” she said. “I’m here to tell you even with no concern, it can still happen to you, so you’re gonna (want to) know what’s going on so you can catch it early. It does save your life. I’m a walking, talking example of early detection.”

Sanders discussed what she expects to be the next steps in her journey.

“Getting a mammogram every single year and praying that I get beyond the fifth year,” she said. “(Then) I can breathe a little easier. There’s no additional treatment at this time.”

Sanders shared more details about her nonprofit.

“We’re not looking for a cure, per se, but we’re in support of women as they go through their battle,” she said. “Going through it, I realize how much help that a woman would need. … At this point now, it’s a site for inspiration. I share my story; I share the story of other survivors as well.”

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