November 15, 2021
Mammograms in her 40s were not on Shannon’s radar at all; her first mammogram led to a diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer.
My name is Shannon. I am 49 and I have metastatic breast cancer. When I was 47, I noticed a change in my breast. Initially, I wasn’t too concerned about it because it didn’t feel like a lump. I didn’t worry about it initially, I thought it was just premenopausal tissue changes. Then I saw a dimple, and I knew something was wrong.
My family doctor did an exam. He agreed that what I was feeling felt more like dense tissue than an actual lump. Thankfully, he offered to send me for a mammogram to ease my mind. The day after I had my first ever mammogram, I was called. “We are booking you for another mammogram and a biopsy as well.” I was completely shocked! There is no history of breast cancer in my family and I had done everything right to prevent this from happening. One biopsy and a lumpectomy later, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer. At the age of 47, I was diagnosed with stage 4 denovo metastatic breast cancer.
MBS Note: When we asked Shannon to share her story, she said yes immediately. “Anything to help,” she said. Shannon’s experience is so important. Mammograms were not on her radar at 40. That’s the case for most women in their 40s. However, what most women do not know 3 things:
1. 17% of breast cancers happen in the 40s and they are more aggressive cancers.
2. 80% of women who get breast cancer don’t have a family history.
3. Any woman in Canada can have a mammogram in her 40s. In BC, NS, PEI, YT you can self-refer, and in the other provinces you can ask your doctor for a requisition.