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OC sheriff talks about breast cancer fight

January 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
For the first time since being diagnosed with breast cancer, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is talking about her fight against the disease.

Hutchens remains upbeat as she finishes two months of chemotherapy treatments.

"I feel like I'm hitting a milestone," she said. "I have my fourth one this Friday, and then that's the last chemo treatment before surgery."

Orange County's top cop broke the news of her diagnosis in November, right after informing her command staff. A few weeks after the announcement, the 57-year-old says her hair started falling out. She now wears a wig. She's lost a few pounds and notices more fatigue.

"I don't work 12-hour days anymore. I know my system now, so late-night events, I've really tried to curtail that as much as possible," she said.

Apart from delegating some speaking engagements, Hutchens has not missed any work.

"I think if you stay home, you focus on your illness. I don't think that's healthy," she said.

Hutchens has served as sheriff since 2008 when the board of supervisors appointed her to the position after the resignation of former Sheriff Mike Carona, which came after a federal grand jury indictment. She went on to win a majority of votes in the June 2010 primary election.

As the sheriff undergoes treatment, she continues to look ahead. She says she plans to run for re-election in 2014.

Hutchens still faces surgery, more chemo, then radiation over the next several months. Her cancer was caught after a breast self-examination. She said she hopes her story will encourage others to also get tested for cancer.

"Get your tests done because it's not a death sentence," Hutchens said. "If you catch it early, you can do something about it."


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