Two days before Tennessee held its annual “Live Pink Bleed Orange” women’s basketball game against Vanderbilt last Sunday, a reporter who covers the Lady Vols underwent a double mastectomy.
Maria Cornelius, who’s covered the team for insidetennessee.com since 2004, discovered a lump in her right breast in early December, which turned out to an invasive ductal carcinoma.
Cornelius, a former reporter and night editor at the News Sentinel, met with her surgeon, Dr. Lytle Brown IV, for a post-op follow-up on Friday. She also received the pathology report that showed no lymph node involvement, a grade two tumor (most common) with clean margins and stage one cancer.
The next step for Cornelius, 50, is to consult with an oncologist, Dr. Hessam Gharavi, and determine the next course of action.
“I am a great example of early detection leading to outstanding outcomes,” said Cornelius, who also credited primary physician Dr. Jerome McKenzie for immediately setting up diagnostic tests and steering the course of action.
Early detection is emphasized by “Champions for a Cause,” the foundation started by Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick and former Lady Vols player/assistant Nikki Caldwell to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research.
Cornelius anticipates being able to return to the Lady Vols beat this week.