Woodford Co. Public Health Dir. speaking out about breast cancer journey

Woodford Co. Public Health Dir. speaking out about breast cancer journey
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 3:22 PM EDT
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VERSAILLES, Ky. (WKYT) -It is no secret that during the pandemic many people either put off routine screenings or simply didn’t go at all.

In this month’s Link to Hope, the story of one Woodford Co. woman who works every day in public health and has a message of why its so important to get those screenings like a mammogram booked.

During the pandemic Cassie Prather became a face we saw a lot on television keeping us updated on COVID-19.

Prather is the Woodford Co. Public Health Director, post pandemic she has a different message to share.

“I like so many other people during COVID-19 did not make those preventative health visits a priority,” said Cassie Prather.

This May, at the age of 41 the busy wife and mother of five made the time and scheduled an appointment for her first mammogram.

With no family history, she was stunned with a diagnosis of breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

“I actually received the call while I was here at work and we had a board meeting that night and I did not remember anything,” said Prather.

Once her shock subsided Prather buckled down on her course of attack.

“I saw a surgeon and the surgeon was going to do a lumpectomy and I was going to have three or four weeks of radiation and then five years on Tamoxifen,” said Prather.

Her oncologist at UK’s Markey Cancer Center saw something else concerning.

Prather was then diagnosed with a second form of breast cancer.

“One slow growing, it doesn’t metastasize and one then I have another one that is a little bit more aggressive and its in the very early stages,” said Prather.

Prather is now set for a double mastectomy later this month.

Her attitude she knows is half the battle.

“I just hope that through this process that my strength is built and I evolve and am able to be a beacon of light for other people that are going through the same thing because that has been what has helped me,” said Prather.

Her support system is strong, from her husband, family and children.

Inside the Woodford Co. Health Department, Prather’s fight has become her co-worker’s fight.

“Cassie Strong” is the motto at the health department now.

She also has received words of encouragement from Kentucky’s top doctor, Steven Stack.

Working in a place where prevention and education is key, Cassie Prather hopes using her own voice in this very personal journey resonates as a link to hope with her community.

“I’m doing this interview with you because I hope someone sees it and if one person calls to make an appointment to get their mammogram it is worth my time,” said Prather.

Upon her diagnosis, Cassie Prather was immediately connected with Kentucky Cancer Link through a nurse navigator and friend.

Prather says its one of those resources that you don’t know you need until you do and its nice to know its in your corner.