I’m writing in response to the article “Q&A: Breast Surgeon Says Early Detection Of Cancer Is Important Enough To Get Screened Even During A Pandemic” [27east.com, October 25].
I’m an East End native from Hampton Bays. I am 31 years old with no family history of breast cancer, and this month I was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, HER2 positive, Grade 3, Stage 2.
On September 15, my fiancé, Lauren, and I closed on our new house and that night got engaged (yay!). We were in the process of starting our journey of in vitro fertilization to grow our family, which was planned for this month. We also have been foster parents for the past two years. We started excitedly preparing to get our home together to welcome new children and start the next chapter in our lives.
On October 7, that all changed. For months, I was sick, and it wasn’t until a lump in my breast was felt, and doubled in size within five days, that my doctor sent me in for an urgent mammogram and sonogram.
Just three weeks after moving into our new home and getting engaged, I heard the words no one wants to hear: “You have cancer.”
Soon, I will be starting five to six months of chemotherapy, a year of immunotherapy, radiation and surgery.
To rewind a bit, I had been sick since March and was battling through with no answers or diagnosis. In July, I went to a chiropractor who takes more of a holistic approach when I wasn’t getting answers. I was lost with worsening symptoms and pain. When I sat in her office with tears in my eyes, she asked me, where do I feel the pain the most and what’s my biggest fear? I told her my lymph nodes in my neck and my chest, and that my biggest fear was that I have cancer and no one was catching it.
That was three months before I was diagnosed. Many nights I laid in bed crying to my fiancé that something was wrong and they weren’t catching it. I was right.
I was happy to see the article pop up today at 27east, but I had hoped your original article would discuss the importance of younger women under 40 getting annual mammograms, thorough breast exams at annual OB-GYN visits and diligence of self-exams, because early detection is key.
I would also like to spread awareness of early detection to younger women and to health care providers, especially during these challenging times when preventative screenings have been declining due to COVID-19. As Dr. Edna Kapenhas stated in your article, six months is too long to wait.
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One fine body…