The next story comes from Marie Rose, another young woman diagnosed with breast cancer in her 20s. She is proud to tell the world she has been cancer-free for three years.
Age and Diagnoses
Diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer Her2+.
Family History or BRCA positive
No family history and negative for BRCA.
Who caught it?
I initially found it when I was twenty. I showed my mom and one of my sisters. They both said they didn't really feel anything and that it was normal. I have had irregular menstrual cycles and at 22. I decided to finally see an OB. It may sound odd but in my family we do not believe in premarital sex so there should be no need to see an OB unless you were pregnant. I was not active but I wanted to know if it was normal to have irregular cycles and would this affect my ability to have children. Upon getting checked the doctor wrote the lump off as being a part of "puberty." I am not sure if it is because I have a youthful face or if this doctor was truly paying attention. Fast forward to me at 26 years old. My best friend told me that if I really wanted to have children that I should get checked out by an OB. She referred me to hers. At 26, I still had abnormal menstrual cycles. Growing up I was told it was because I was athletic. Anyway the OB gave me a routine pap with a breast exam. She found my lump and told me not to worry because it is probably nothing. She referred me to a surgeon just to be sure. I met with the surgeon and again was reassured that it was nothing. Two days after my lumpectomy I received the phone call that would and will continue to change my life.
What were the signs/symptoms?
No symptoms--I just had an instinct that something wasn't right with my body.
Did your doctors listen to you?
It is an ongoing issue with people in the medical field. They see tons of people and it is easy to slip into the cracks and become just another number. My doctors, however; were amazing. They listened to me and became like family. Being diagnosed so young I was able to give my doctor's insight on how cancer can affect someone at a young age.
What would you say to a young woman who thinks something might be wrong?
I tell all of my friends and family to check themselves, know your body better than your doctors, and that early detection is key. It is your body and your life--treat it as a gift and take care of it as such.