Stories about breast cancer that can inspire and inform

Blog  |  Newsroom

Sierra’s Story: Not Too Young for Breast Cancer

Sierra Turner has a history of fibroadenomas, which are benign breast tumors, so when she felt a lump in her breast in late 2022, she assumed that’s what she was feeling. But the more she felt it, she realized that it didn’t feel like a fibroadenoma usually felt. 

“That’s when I realized this was something different, so I started reaching out to women’s centers,” she said. “Everywhere I called, they told me I was just 26, so I was too young for breast cancer, especially since I didn’t have a family history.”

Sierra had an appointment with her primary physician in early 2023 for an unrelated issue. When she met with him, she explained her concerns about the lump. “He listened and he said ‘okay, let’s get a mammogram, an ultrasound, we’ll get this figured out,’” she said. “I knew he’d help me. I felt like I was finally being heard.” 

Within days, she had a mammogram, a breast ultrasound and a biopsy, which revealed Sierra had invasive ductal carcinoma. “I’m a single mom and the first thing that went through my head was my son. If I had breast cancer, what was going to happen to him? It’s just the two of us,” she said. “Even before cancer, one of my biggest fears was leaving him, something happening to me.” 

Sierra was told the cancer was stage 3 and over the next couple of weeks, her thoughts turned dark. When she bathed her son, she wondered whether this was the last bath she’d give him; when she made his favorite meal, she worried it was the last time she’d make it. 

“In the beginning, it was more of a mental battle,” she said. “And something about stage 3 didn’t feel right. I couldn’t shake the feeling something wasn’t right about that.” This pushed her to seek a second opinion

“I ended up going to a hospital where they’re known for their care across the spectrum,” Sierra said. “They took a more in depth look at the biopsies.” Sierra had a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) test and it determined the cancer was HER2-postivie and actually stage 1B. “It was a huge difference from what I was originally told,” she said. 

With her breast cancer now staged at 1B, Sierra’s treatment plan was also altered. Rather than 16 rounds of chemotherapy she was originally told she needed, she only needed six rounds. Sierra then had a double mastectomy and 30 rounds of radiation therapy. She’s now on hormone therapy and HER2–targeted therapy. 

“I think it’s really important to be your own biggest advocate. If you notice something with your body that doesn’t feel right, that doesn’t look right, you need to get it checked. And if the first doctor isn’t listening to you, go to another doctor,” Sierra said. “Keep going until you find someone who will listen to you, because the one who does may end up being the one that saves your life.” 

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 health care provider with specific questions or concerns about their treatment.