Doctors always encourage women to perform “self-checks” on their breasts as a way to detect breast cancer early and one Lee County woman is living proof that it really works.

At almost 81-years-old Gloria Bucher is tough to keep up with, but last December she got some news that threatened to sideline her for good.

“Everything was fine. And I had another appointment set up for the following April, but it would have been too late,” Gloria said.

Too late because during a self-exam in the middle of the night Gloria found a lump about the size of her marble in her breast.

“Everyone is scared when they you tell them they have cancer. It’s frightening,” she said.

Tish Sheesley with Komen of Southwest Florida says every woman should be doing a self exam. She adds it’s key to know your body.

“You are the CEO of your own body. So you know what feels normal to you and you know what maybe doesn’t feel normal,” Sheesley said.

Dr. Lea Blackwell performed Gloria’s lumpectomy. She advises women to look for something hard, that doesn’t go away and is different than the other side.

“They don’t need to think I just had a mammogram last month so I can’t have anything because mammograms aren’t perfect and you can’t have this false sense of security that just because your mammogram isn’t abnormal doesn’t mean something isn’t going on,” Blackwell said.

“I tell all my friends…anybody. I got my neighbors checking their breasts!” Gloria said.

Gloria’s now turned into a “self-check” pro. Just ask the ladies that live on her Fort Myers street.

“I was very worried about her. I just thought, ‘Golly darn! We all better start checking,'” said a neighbor.

Gloria says if her message can encourage even just one woman to do a self-check — this battle she’s going through will be well worth it.