Stories about breast cancer that can inspire and inform

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Young Women Get Breast Cancer

Maria Costa was concerned about her breast cancer risk after her grandmother, aunts on both sides of her family and her mother were diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite sharing her concerns with her OBGYN, she was told that she was “too young” to get breast cancer and was denied a mammogram. Her OBGYN told her she should start annual screening at age 40.

One year later, at age 33, Maria was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.

Jeanelle Adams went to her doctor in 2020 after experiencing symptoms in her left breast. Her doctor told her it was eczema and treated her with a steroid shot and topical cream. But her nipple was heavy, itchy and deteriorating. Nothing seemed to help so she asked her doctor for a mammogram. Jeanelle was told “you’re very young.”

Eventually she felt a lump and called her doctor’s office. While on the phone with a receptionist, Jeanelle had a meltdown, and finally received a referral for a mammogram.

Fifteen months after Jeanelle first told her doctor about the unusual symptoms in her breast, she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She was also 33 years old.

Breast cancer can happen at any age. Younger women often find it harder to be taken seriously and listened to by health care providers when advocating for their breast health or issues with their breasts.

Hear more about Maria and Jeanelle’s struggle to get the care they needed on Real Talk