Jennifer's Story, diagnosed at 24

It is important that you read my story because not all breast cancer can be found in the form of lumps…

I had just turned 24 years old on June 1, 2008 and my mother had just been diagnosed with DCIS stage 0 breast cancer and needed to have a lumpectomy with radiation to follow. The night she told my brother and I the news, I started hysterically crying. She said that the doctors said she would be fine. I was very upset about this news; however I was more upset because I knew I would be diagnosed with it too. That night I said to my family, I am going to get it. I just had a really bad feeling. Now I know to pay attention to bad feelings.

Two weeks later, my right nipple started to discharge blood. I freaked out. The next day I went to my gynecologist immediately. I had been on birth control pills for 6 years so my breasts were naturally denser. Therefore, I did not think anything could be wrong. She said that although it is rare for young women to experience serious problems with their breasts, I should go have a sonogram done that day. Discharging blood was definitely something to be concerned with.

I went to have a sonogram which showed tons of calcium deposits, which sonograms are not supposed to show. I had so many that the radiologist thought it would be a good idea to have a biopsy done that day so they could figure out if I am in real danger. The biopsy showed precancerous cells throughout my milk ducts but they did not know how widespread the cells were. The next week I had a mammogram, an MRI, another biopsy, and a lymph node biopsy, which showed that my right breast had precancerous cells throughout the linings of my milk ducts but it was not invasive. There were no lumps at all. This was not something that could be felt. On July 23, 2008 I was diagnosed with DCIS stage 0 breast cancer and I would need to have a right breast mastectomy.

What I learned from this experience is that no matter how afraid you are, when something does not feel right to you, you need to go to the doctor. Your health is too valuable, and although the doctor might tell you something you don't want to hear, it is better to hear it now before it's too late to do something about it.