I was Dense. Are You?
I had dense breasts. I also had breast cancer, and I didn’t know it.
For two years, I had cancer living in my body and I had no clue.
During one of my annual mammograms, my OBGYN told me that I had dense breasts. She didn’t elaborate, so I didn’t think much about it. I didn’t know that when you have dense breasts, it’s difficult for a mammogram to detect breast cancerous lumps or tumors. I didn’t know that I needed to get an MRI or ultrasounds. Instead, I only knew the basics of breast health: eat healthy, exercise and get an in-office breast exam and yearly mammograms.
Family History + Dense Breasts = See a Breast Specialist and Get More Tests
I finally found my cancer during an at-home breast exam. By the time I found my mass, it was the size of a lime and 4.9 cm. I had turned on my side and it literally poked out and said, “Hello!” YUCK! Even more frightening was that I had a drop of milky fluid come out of my nipple. These two things brought me back to my OBGYN, where she ordered me an MRI and ultrasound. I was only 45 years old, and after all the results came through, I had Stage 2B breast cancer.
Women Need to Know
My goal this year with my event: Stacy Feltman's FUNdraiser for Breast Cancer Angels is to share what I went through so that other women know how to PREVENT or DETECT breast cancer before it’s too late. In hindsight, there are things I could have done earlier had I known more information.
1. Are you DENSE? Ask your OBGYN if you have dense breasts.
2. Do you need an MRI and/or ultrasounds? If you have dense breasts, you need to ask for these tests.
3. Do you have family history? If so, get a yearly exam with a BREAST SPECIALIST in addition to seeing your OBGYN.
4. Have you examined your own breasts? The short, physical exams we receive during our annual visit are NOT comprehensive. They are such a false positive! Turn over. Lie on your side. Raise your arms above your head. Feel the sides and ask your doctor to show you how to do your own exam at home.
5. See a Breast Specialist. Scientists are still working to discover other genes besides BRCA1 and BRCA2 which indicate breast cancer. For women with a family history, a breast specialist will be most informed about additional tests and opportunities for discovery.
I’m so LUCKY
Discovering my breast cancer was scary. It’s frightening to think that I had cancer living inside of my body for two years. What if it had traveled? I’m so lucky that my breast cancer didn’t affect my lymph nodes, but what if it had gotten into my blood? Thankfully, my bloodwork is good, but it’s a fight every day to remain positive and optimistic. I still have worries that I don’t want other women to have, and that’s why hosting this event has been so important to me. I hope that by sharing my story I can help other women prevent breast cancer from spreading, and by partnering with Breast Cancer Angels, support the ones enduring treatment.
Thank you so much to all of my family and friends for your support these past two years. I’m so excited to celebrate and support life with you this Sunday!
Love, Stacy Feltman, Wife of Bryan, Mom of Sami, Josh, Brandon, Sadie and Shea, Realtor and Breast Cancer Survivor!