Sumo the Cat Detected My Breast Cancer, Owner Says
Notorious for neglecting regular checkups with her doctor (it had been nine years since her last mammogram), Judy Danchura, 58, credits a feisty feline named Sumo with detecting her cancer and getting her to the general practitioner for an exam.
"He was like an angel that came to help me," Danchura tells PEOPLEPets.com. "I felt like [he] was sent here to shake me and say, 'Go for these mammograms!' "
It all started when Danchura received a meow-filled wake up call from the 2-year-old domestic short hair, who wandered into her back yard last June. No stranger to helping animals in need, Danchura, who lives in Winnepeg, Manitoba, with her husband Werner, took Sumo in, assuming he'd find his own spot in the house to sleep. Little did she know Sumo had something else in mind.
"The cat decided to jump up onto the bed," Danchura recalls. "I was lying underneath the covers and he just crawled up my right side and stepped on my breast. The place where he stepped, I felt a sharp pain."
Stunned by the soreness, Danchura immediately made an appointment with her general practitioner. After a mammogram, the former high school English teacher was referred to a surgeon, who determined that the lump was cancerous. She underwent a successful lumpectomy to remove the tumor, and is happy to report the cancer did not spread.
Now on a post-surgical regimen consisting of an oral anti-cancer drug and a series of radiation treatments, Danchura has a 95 percent chance of survival.
Since her life-changing meeting with Sumo, Danchura – who officially adopted the cat after his previous owner decided to put him back up for adoption – feels that she owes her life to him. If it wasn't for his curiosity and fancy footwork, she may never have found the lump until it was too late. And while not an overly religious person, Danchura is a strong believer in the symbiotic relationship between humans and animals. "The cat found [the cancer]," Danchura says. "I trust that the cat had done his job."
Not only did Sumo help catch Danchura's cancer at the earliest stage possible, he also taught his new owner to appreciate the world around her. From the trees that line the streets to the blue skies, "there's just so much that surrounds me every day that is just wonderful," she says. "[Sumo] helped to open my eyes to just how wondrous the world actually is."
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