This post brought to you by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Bring Your Brave campaign. The content and opinions expressed below are that of My Mommy Style.
October is beast cancer awareness month and ” Bring Your Brave“ is an awesome initiative that aims to inspire young women to learn their risk for breast cancer, talk with their health care provider about their risk, and live a breast healthy lifestyle. Today I’m going to share a personal story, because it’s worth talking openly about this very important message. PLEASE don’t ignore this message and decide that I’m not talking to you and join us on October 27th by sharing your story on social media using the hashtag #BraveBecause
Sometimes, breast cancer in young women happens and when they are diagnosed, it is more likely to be hereditary. When this happens, people don’t usually find it until later and it is more aggressive and difficult to treat. It always worth being proactive rather than being filled with regret. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. While breast cancer mostly occurs among older women, in rare cases breast cancer does affect women under the age of 45.
When I was nineteen, I noticed a hard lump in my breast. I wasn’t too concerned, because it only hurt when I pushed on it and feeling pain is pretty common during different times of the month. I ignored it for a while – but gradually it began bothering me more often. I’m not an overly anxious type of person, but I decided to tell my boyfriend, who has since become my husband. I kept thinking that I was so young and there was no way I would have any major problems – but he insisted that I had it checked.
I remember feeling scared when I put on the blue cover with the snaps in front, but I felt good about getting more information. The doctor asked me a series of questions and checked for anything out of the ordinary. He told me that he believed it was a calcium deposit but that I should have it tested, just to be sure. I was scared the morning of the surgery because it was the first time I had ever experienced anything like this. When the surgery was over, they said they removed a calcium deposit the size of a golf ball! I felt relieved to have it over and prayed that the test results would be okay. About a week later, I found out everything was fine.
A few years ago I was having some pain again, so I decided to get my first mammogram at age thirty-seven. Some of my friends thought I was crazy, but I knew it had to be done. It didn’t hurt, but it was uncomfortable and awkward. A few days later, I received a phone call telling me that there were some things they wanted to check – and I about died. I returned to the hospital for a second check and this time they pulled out their ultrasound machine and screens to get a closer look. They showed me a tiny pin-point dot and I couldn’t believe that such a small discoloration concerned them so much. After more checking, they told me to come in every few years to keep an eye on it. I put it out of my mind until a few weeks ago when I turned forty. I went back in and had my second mammogram. From the look on the nurses face, I could tell she saw something that caught her eye. I told her I was aware of a spot they were watching, even though I was pretty young to be concerned.
I’m still waiting for those results, but I have decided that the discomfort of a mammogram, far outweighs the risks of being unaware. Yes, I am #BraveBecause I want my daughters to feel secure with their bodies and understand the things we need to do to care for them.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. 11% of all cases of breast cancer in the United States affect women under the age of 45, however, many young women do not know they are at risk. Young women face a unique threat – when they are diagnosed with breast cancer it is: more likely to be hereditary, more often diagnosed at a later stage, and often more aggressive and difficult to treat.
Every woman can benefit from learning the risk factors for breast cancer. In addition to the risk factors all women face, some risk factors put young women at a higher risk for getting breast cancer at a young age. If you are under the age of 45, you may have a higher risk for breast cancer if-
o You have close relatives who were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45 or ovarian cancer at any age, especially if more than one relative was diagnosed or if a male relative had breast cancer.
o You have changes in certain breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2), or have close relatives with these changes, but have not been tested yourself.
o You have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
o You received radiation therapy to the breast or chest during childhood or early adulthood.
o You have had breast cancer or certain other breast health problems, such as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), atypical ductal hyperplasia, or atypical lobular hyperplasia.
o You have been told that you have dense breasts on a mammogram.
• CDC encourages women to take three important steps to understand their breast cancer risk:
o Know how your breasts normally look and feel and talk to your doctor if you notice anything unusual.
o Talk to your relatives about your family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Use CDC’s worksheet as a guide for your conversation. https://www.knowbrca.org/downloads/FCHWorksheet.pdf
Cassie and many other women’s stories are shared on the CDC website, and I’d encourage you to read and share them with your loved ones and on social media. You never know who’s life you could save.
Cassie, 42, has a history of cancer on her mother’s side. Several of her mom’s sisters had breast cancer in their 40s, and her mother and one aunt tested positive for a BRCA gene mutation. Knowing she might be at higher risk because of her family history, at age 32 Cassie chose to have genetic counseling to learn more about her risk. From there, she decided to get genetic testing which revealed that she, too, carries a BRCA gene mutation.
To address her increased risk, Cassie opted to have a bilateral mastectomy—to have both of her breasts removed. Having seen so many of her family members diagnosed with breast cancer, she was confident in her choice. The decision to have her ovaries removed to manage her ovarian cancer risk was much harder for Cassie. When she learned she was BRCA1 positive, she had two children, but wanted more. Her doctor advised her that if she wanted to have another child, she should get pregnant soon due to her increased cancer risk. Soon after giving birth to her third child, Cassie had her ovaries removed.
Now, she is committed to keeping her body as healthy as possible and sharing her story to make a difference in the world for women whose lives have been touched by hereditary breast cancer.
Bring Your Brave was launched in 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is its first breast cancer campaign specific to young women. Bring Your Brave aims to inspire young women to learn their risk for breast cancer, talk with their health care provider about their risk, and live a breast healthy lifestyle. The campaign tells real stories about young women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. These stories about prevention, exploring personal and family history, risk, and talking with health care providers bring to life the idea that young women can be personally affected by breast cancer.
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!