Kate Laseter learned she had a type of breast cancer called stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma, HER2-positive when she was 29 years old. She is a histotechnologist who works in breast cancer research.
You have to be an advocate for yourself. For weeks, I felt off. I was sleeping a ton, lost my appetite and had nose bleeds, which aren’t normal for me. Then I found a lump on July 3rd. I work in breast cancer research, and I knew something was wrong. I made an appointment with my doctor.
On July 12th, I went in for a breast ultrasound and diagnostic mammogram. However, the radiologist did not believe the mammogram was necessary, so she only did the ultrasound. During the ultrasound, a 2.5 cm growth was found. It was very dense, but the radiologist told me that it was nothing and not to worry. I was worried. I told her the growth had tripled in size in eight weeks, and it took me that long to get an appointment, but she basically ignored my concerns.
She argued with me and wanted me to wait three to six months to get another ultrasound. She told me that because of my age, I shouldn’t be worried, that the growth was most likely fibrous tissue. I told her I did not want to wait.
The biopsy was done on September 3rd. In the two months since I found the lump, the growth had tripled in size. My instincts were correct. I had grade 3 histological score and a ki67 score of 69%. My cancer was very aggressive, and if I had not advocated for myself, the radiologist would have just sent me on my way simply because I didn’t fit the age criteria.
My biggest advice to women is to be an advocate for yourself. If you feel something is wrong, stick to your guns and don’t let any doctor make you feel like you shouldn’t get proper treatment. The radiologist did apologize to me afterward, but if I had listened to her, I would have been in a totally different scenario and may not have survived. So please stand up for yourself when needed. Cancer doesn’t care how old you are.
During treatment, I highly recommend talking to someone. I didn’t do that and regretted it because I was in a very low place after my mastectomy. Everything came rushing in and I didn’t know how to handle it. I put it off because I was in fight mode and tried to shut off my emotions, but it wasn’t healthy and really impacted me after the fact.
Take things day by day. My motto now is “a day above the dirt, is a good day.” That may seem morbid, but it makes me laugh because we take life for granted until something life-changing happens.
All in all, this was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, but my team of doctors and my family helped me through it. You are way stronger than you realize, so keep pushing.
I am now four months cancer-free. It has been an extremely tough journey, but well worth it. Hang in there. I had days that made me question whether going through all of this was worth it, but you have to fight for your loved ones and mostly for yourself.
Statements and opinions expressed are that of the individual and do not express the views or opinions of Susan G. Komen. This information is being provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Persons with breast cancer should consult their healthcare provider with specific questions or concerns about their treatment.