Breast cancer is not usually in the front of mind for a young, active woman in her 30s. After experiencing concerning symptoms, Jenn approached her doctor about breast health and regular screenings. Given a familial history, Jenn was ready to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Six years after she lost her mother to breast cancer, Jenn was diagnosed with the same disease.
Based on her stage 0 diagnosis, Jenn had opted for a double mastectomy procedure, removing both breasts in an effort to remove the cancer and prevent it from spreading. Through the surgery, Jenn learned the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Given this new information, Jenn had to make decisions about her treatment plan that could affect options for breast reconstruction post-treatment.
“It’s a very personal decision, every woman approaches it differently”, she explained.
She underwent her treatment at Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) and the Irving Greenberg Family Cancer Centre.
“I felt comfortable here, and it was close to home, which, we didn’t even realize would be part of the convenience factor when you have to come to the hospital every single day. My husband was to able to drive me and still go to work, I could drive myself even if I felt tired because I knew it wouldn’t be a long drive home. And I was coming to a beautiful new treatment center, where I wasn’t stuck in a dirty basement having radiology done.”
Jenn is actively involved in the community as a breast cancer survivor. A breast cancer diagnosis is emotionally difficult to accept. As a young woman in her thirties, Jenn continues to share story and inspire others through her blog, Young and Breastless. Jenn initially started the blog as a means to connect with other women battling breast cancer, after learning to accept her diagnosis. Jenn shares her trials and tribulations of battling breast cancer, healing physically and emotionally, and moving forward.
In the community, Jenn is a leader in philanthropy by creating and promoting fundraising events in contribution to Epic Walk, an event in partnership with the Queensway Carleton Hospital and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation to raise money for a new mammography machine at QCH.
“I wanted to try and give back to the community that has helped me. It’s called the Epic Walk because it’s going to be somewhat difficult and physically demanding; which I think is a good metaphor for how people feel during their cancer treatment,”.
“One of the reasons I am passionate about the new mammography machine is because I am younger; none of my friends are being screened yet, or have risk factors. This is the machine that will be testing by friends in the future.”
Breast cancer will continue to affect thousands of women and men annually, and early detection is the best way to take preventative healthcare measures, and begin a treatment plan as soon as possible. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chances are to beat the cancer.
“Right now, early detection is the only way to survive breast cancer.”
A new mammography machine will provide faster and more accurate imaging, reducing wait times and increasing the speed and accuracy at which breast cancer can be diagnosed.
Join us, by supporting our Mammography Campaign.