Breast Cancer Impacts Women Too Young To Have Mammograms
As a registered nurse for over ten years now, I've witnessed how hard it can be for patients and family members to get the news and hear the word no one ever wants to hear: cancer. I can't even imagine what it's like to receive the news personally. I understand how having the right team, treatments, and assistance navigating these diagnoses can make a world of difference. That's why I'm so proud to be partnering up with City of Hope Orange County and to share the story of a very brave superwoman who firsthand experienced how having the right medical team by your side can be a life-saving experience.
In October 2020, Leslie Bruce, a young 38-year-old mother of a two and six-year-old kiddo, got diagnosed with breast cancer. She felt a lump in her breast, and she wasn’t yet old enough to require a regular mammogram! After having several meetings with local hospitals, she was referred by a friend to the City Of Hope Orange County, and she immediately knew it was the right place for her. A decision that was a no brainer. "If you have cancer, you want to go to a cancer hospital," stated the brave mother of 2. She knew if this was the battle she had to fight, she wanted to do it at a hospital dedicated to research, with innovative treatments and at the forefront of medicine.
Of course, getting diagnosed was scary, but as she stated during our interview, "going through chemotherapy terrified me." Being in the middle of a pandemic made everything more daunting. Leslie could not have her family at her bedside while she was making life-changing and altering decisions. Although she didn't have family at her side, the City Of Hope Orange County staff quickly and gracefully stepped into that role. From administration to her doctors and nurses, she was able to get fantastic service and the emotional support she very much needed during such a difficult time. "The staff was thoughtful, calm, patient with my millions of questions," stated Bruce.
Of course, besides the emotional support she received, she was also very pleased with all the treatments and additional options the City Of Hope team offered to their patients. I was very intrigued to learn about cold capping. These are scalp cooling systems that are tightly fitting, helmet-like hats equipped with a cold liquid worn during chemotherapy infusion to prevent or reduce hair loss. Thanks to cold capping available at City Of Hope, Leslie was able to keep 60% of her hair even though she was receiving one of the most potent chemotherapy regimens. This treatment not only allowed her to keep her hair which she worried would traumatize her young children, but it also gave her privacy and dignity.
Thanks to City of Hope Orange County's excellent team and Leslie's determination, she has managed to kick cancer in the rear! She is now generously helping other women navigate such complex diagnoses. She's passionate about sharing her story to bring awareness to how important it is to be our advocates. Her advice is twofold:
Be diligent about self-exams. No matter your age, no one is immune to breast cancer, and
Listen to your body and strongly advocate for yourself.
No one ever wants to think about someone we love or ourselves being in this type of situation, but as Leslie mentioned, "God forbid something happens to us or someone we know. It's so great to know we have top-of-the-line care near us here in Orange County; we don't have to travel anywhere for excellent care. That's one less thing to worry about."
I was so touched by Leslie's story and how fortunate she was to have such a fantastic team and hospital by her side. You can see more of her story here. If you or someone you know requires assistance for breast cancer or any other kind of cancer, please follow this link to connect with City Of Hope Orange County.
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Talk to you later!