Until now Sheriff Mims hasn't released much detail about her breast cancer diagnosis expect that it was found during her annual mammogram examination. Margaret Mims, Fresno Sheriff: "I'm back a work, I'm going to be fine. I have a very good prognosis."
There was more to it though and on her first day back at the sheriff's department she chose to discuss it.
Margaret Mims: "I knew, as a public figure, people had questions, they wanted to know."
Mims explained that she has had a history of multiple biopsies following annual checkups. But this year the results were different.
Margaret Mims: "Before everything had been benign and then you get the call and the doctor says we found something"
That something triggered her decision to have a double mastectomy to have both breasts removed and to start reconstructive surgery at the same time.
Margaret Mims: "What made me feel better was making decisions and taking action. That's was really helped me push through this."
The community rallied around her with the very public "pink day" in county offices and sent personal notes through the mail. She even received letters of support from two inmates in her jail.
Margaret Mims: "The outpouring was just amazing, just amazing. My house was just full of flowers and plants."
She says her return to work is good medicine and so is her commitment to encourage every woman to take care of their breast health with annual mammograms.
Margaret Mims: "People elected me to do a job and I have to continue doing that but I did slow down some I'm cancer free today, because it was detected."
Sheriff Mims acknowledges not every woman has the access to medical care that she has but she adds there are agencies that can help you find them.
Assistance for low-income or uninsured women:
Every Woman Counts (California Department of Health Services):
Provides free mammograms for low-income, uninsured or underinsured women age 40 and older who qualify; (800) 511-2300 or www.dhs.ca.gov/cancerdetection/breastcancer/breastcancer.htm
The Breast and Cervical Cancer Care Coordination and Navigation Program (California Health Collaborative):
Helps find ways to pay for treatment and get to appointments; provides interpreters and other services; (888) 921-7465 or www.healthcollaborative.org
Basic cancer information is available at www.cancer.gov