"Be sure that you take care of yourself."

By Brandon Moseley

State Rep. Debbie Hamby Wood (R-Valley) released a commercial in October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Wood, who is a cancer survivor herself, represents House District 38 in the Alabama Legislature.

“I can tell you that it’s a struggle, it’s a battle,” Wood said of her battle with breast cancer. “It may have scarred me, but it’s not who I am. It’s just part of the story of who Debbie Wood is.

“I’ll never forget it. I continue to get checked regularly and I encourage other women to do that and to take care of themselves. Oftentimes we put off going to the doctor and doing the things we need to do to care for ourselves because we’re caring for everyone else.  So be sure that you take care of yourself and get checked.  It’s important.”

Wood was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She underwent a double mastectomy, removal of her ovaries, and breast reconstruction, with good results. She continues on a single daily dose of medication to suppress any recurrence, and on March 16th, 2021, she celebrated her sixth year of being cancer-free.

For the past six years, Wood has been a staunch advocate of early detection and treatment of breast cancer.  She has also worked to increase awareness of dense breast tissue, which many women have, and how it can make the early diagnosis of breast cancer more difficult.  This happened to Wood, and it delayed her diagnosis and subsequent treatment for nearly a year. 

In the legislature, Wood has sponsored bills in the House to require medical personnel to inform women if they have dense breast tissue, similar to laws in neighboring states.

Wood is running for reelection to her second term in the Legislature. 

Prior to being elected to the House, Wood served four terms as the District 6 Representative on the Chambers County Commission and was the first female to serve as Commission Chair. 

In 2014 she served as President of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.

For over 20 years, Wood has owned and operated Century 21 Wood Real Estate in Valley, where she and her husband of over 30 years, Bobby, live. They have two children and three grandchildren, They attend Langdale United Methodist Church.

According to breastcancer.org, about 43,600 women in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer this year. Death rates have been steady in women under 50 since 2007, but have continued to drop in women over age 50. The overall death rate from breast cancer decreased by 1% per year from 2013 to 2018. Scientists attribute these decreases to treatment advances and earlier detection through screening.

About one in eight women in the U.S. (13%) will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes. Early detection is critical in surviving breast cancer. 

House District 38 includes portions of Chambers and Lee Counties. It, like the rest of the voting districts in Alabama, will have to be reapportioned and redistricted prior to the 2020 election.

The Republican primary will be May 24, 2022.