From OHC

June 3, 2024

When most people think of breast cancer, they imagine it affecting older women.  However, an alarming trend shows an increase in women under 40 being diagnosed at a higher rate than was previously seen.  For women like OHC patient Rebecca Davis, who was only 29 when she was diagnosed, and with no family history of breast cancer or related cancers, it was the last thing she expected.

In the final months of 2021, while still getting used to being a new mom, Rebecca noticed a lump in her left breast.  After an ultrasound at her OB/GYN’s office, she had a biopsy that led to her diagnosis of breast cancer.  Rebecca was shocked, “My first thought was, ‘Am I going to make it to my son’s first birthday’.”

Rebecca sought the help of Cincinnati Breast Surgeons’ Lydia Hernandez, MD, FACS, who referred her to OHC medical oncologist and hematologist Randy Drosick, MD.  Rebecca’s treatment included 6 rounds of chemotherapy before a double mastectomy with reconstruction, followed by a year of anti-HER-2/neu immunotherapy.  “Rebecca is young and vibrant, so we created a personalized treatment plan that would give her the best chance of success at beating the cancer and letting her get back to being an active mother,” adds Dr. Drosick.

Chemotherapy can have negative impacts on fertility, and with Rebecca’s age, this was a concern.  Dr. Drosick knew Rebecca wanted to have more kids in the future, so his team recommended Rebecca work with a reproductive endocrinologist at the Institute for Reproductive Health to freeze her eggs.  Dr. Drosick explains, “Our goal with every patient is to identify what is important to them, now and in the future, and provide them with the best quality of life before, during, and after treatment. For Rebecca, being diagnosed at only 29, her future family was a significant worry with her treatment.  We wanted to alleviate that fear for her so that she could focus on beating the cancer.”

Rebecca is thankful to Dr. Drosick and the entire team at OHC Eastgate, who became her second family while she underwent treatment.  “The nurses have such a hard job, and they have a very special place in my heart for their compassion during my treatment.  My treatment suite nurse Reagan truly went above and beyond and helped me throughout the entire experience,” adds Rebecca.

Rebecca found the strength to fight her cancer from her son and by speaking with other breast cancer survivors.  Those women included friends of friends, friends’ moms, and other women in her community who were diagnosed at various ages.  Several women Rebecca spoke with were also young survivors as well as women who went on to have children after beating the disease.  Those stories gave her hope for her future. They also gave her the courage to share her own story so that she could be a resource to the next woman who comes after her.

OHC encourages women to perform self-breast exams, regardless of their age and family history.  Starting in your 20s, familiarizing yourself with your breasts through monthly self-exams empowers you to detect any unusual changes early on. A lump, dimpling, nipple retraction, or change in skin texture could be an early sign of a problem. It is also important to be familiar with when yearly screenings should begin. Remember, early detection often leads to better treatment outcomes.  Download our self-breast exam shower card to learn how to perform the exam and visit our screening guidelines for when to start screening for other types of cancer.

Rebecca’s story highlights the importance of self-breast exams, reporting a new symptom, and having an established relationship with a doctor.  Being attuned to her body and not dismissing it as simply “postpartum changes” led her to seek medical attention, which resulted in an early diagnosis and successful treatment, that ended on January 19th, 2023.  While Rebecca will continue to be seen occasionally, she has reached complete remission.  Not only that, but she is also now expecting her second child, a daughter, which is a testament to her and the power of early detection, proactive treatment, and the steadfast support of OHC.

OHC goes beyond clinical excellence. We understand the emotional turmoil, logistical hurdles, and financial burdens associated with cancer. Whether it’s providing access to resources like support groups, financial assistance programs, or fertility preservation options, our holistic approach ensures patients are armed with the tools they need.

If you or someone you love is facing a breast cancer diagnosis, OHC cancer experts are here to provide the comprehensive care, emotional support, and personalized treatment you deserve.  Please call 888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com to schedule an appointment or request a second opinion.

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