TAMPA, Fla. — You might have seen downtown Tampa and even the White House lit up in pink in honor of October being breast cancer awareness month.
It's another reminder to stay vigilant in screenings even during a pandemic. One local breast cancer survivor shares her story to help remind others to put their health first.
"I was diagnosed back in 2017 with stage 2 triple-negative breast cancer, which is one of the most invasive types of breast cancer at 33 years old," breast cancer survivor Brooke Delany said.
Brooke knew she had the BRCA gene and had carefully tracked her health for years at Moffitt.
"My daughter, who was 3 years old at the time, jumped on the bed and on my chest and that's when I felt my lump," she said.
During pregnancies, breast cancer imaging is not done. It was a few months after her second child was born was when her lump developed. It's a reminder, she says, of how quickly breast cancer can develop and why screenings are so important.
But with the pandemic, Brooke worries about a new trend.
"Working at Moffitt myself, I'm seeing patients are not coming into the hospital as much during the pandemic. Research has shown that 50% of breast cancer diagnosis have gone down," she said. But Brooke says it's not because cases are going down, instead its the missed diagnoses.
Wanting to help as many women through this journey as possible, Brooke created the MOST Warriors support group on Facebook. It has about 60 members so far.
"We are there for support, to answer questions, to provide support, recommendations and so much more," she said. And says getting the word out about screenings is important now more than ever. "One of my friends recently was diagnosed a month ago and she was contemplating putting her screening off but, thankfully, she went in."
Brooke says younger women are at a higher risk of getting more advanced stages of breast cancer since it's not recommended to get mammograms until 40 years old. The most important thing women can do is to do your monthly manual self-checks and yearly annual screens with doctors.
"You don't want to be that person who goes in too late, rather than finding it early so you can get treated for it," she said.
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