A breast cancer survivor encourages other women to be screened for the disease after doctors ignore her symptoms.
Staci Akselrod, 26, from Pleasantville, New York, first noticed a hard bump in her right breast in 2016.
She visited a doctor to take her worries away – but they were pushed aside and told that she was & # 39; too young & # 39; was to have breast cancer and that she had dense breasts, which is a risk factor.
Only a year later, in May 2017, would Akselrod's disease be diagnosed, TODAY reported.
After chemotherapy and surgery to remove her right breast, Akselrod is cancer-free and encourages women to look for screening if they think something is wrong.
Staci Akselrod, 26 (left and right), from Pleasantville, New York, felt a lump in her right breast for the first time in 2016. She visited her doctor, who rejected her concerns and said she was & # 39; too young & # 39; was to have cancer.
A year later, in May 2017, while she was being screened for another problem, she received an ultrasound scan to check her breast. Pictured: Akselrod in the hospital, November 2018
& # 39; I kind of always talked to every doctor who gave me a breast exam that I had dense breasts, & # 39; Akselrod told us TODAY
& # 39; But no one had ever worried too much about it or talked to me too much about monitoring. & # 39;
At the time, Akselrod was checked for digestive problems and a suspected autoimmune disease.
During one checkup, with different doctors, she lifted the lump and they decided to give her an ultrasound.
Ultrasographs are preferable to mammograms for women with dense breasts because the cancer is almost indistinguishable from breast tissue on mammogram examinations.
Akselrod told TODAY that when she was diagnosed in May 2017, she & # 39; shocked & # 39; used to be.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.
It is very rare in women under 40 years of age and there is a greater chance of the diagnosis being made at an advanced stage.
Akselod (left, in the hospital and right) was diagnosed with breast cancer, which is very rare in women under 40 years of age. In women, the death rate for breast cancer is higher than for other cancers, apart from lung cancer.
Less than a month after her diagnosis, Akselrod (photo) started 18 weeks with chemotherapy
Women are considered to be at increased risk if they are older, have a family history of breast cancer, carry the BRCA gene mutation or have a history of breast radiation.
In 2019, it is estimated that more than 331,530 cases of invasive and non-invasive breast cancer in women will be diagnosed and nearly 42,000 will die.
Among women, the mortality rates for breast cancer are higher than for other cancers, apart from lung cancer.
Breast cancer also occurs in men, but the incidence is less than one percent.
Less than a month later, Akselrod started 18 weeks with chemotherapy.
& # 39; If I could have been diagnosed at an earlier stage, you know, things might have been much simpler with treatment and surgery, or at least with surgery, & # 39; she said TODAY.
& # 39; People kept telling me I was brave, but I felt terrible. I was very scared. & # 39;
She said she felt isolated because hospital nurses often commented on how young she was, or she was reminded of her age when she went to support groups and was the youngest person there.
She also underwent a breast amputation to remove her right breast, but says that the most difficult part of the treatment was losing her hair. Pictured: Akselrod during a check
Akselrod is now cancer-free and encourages other women to look for screenings if they think something is wrong. Pictured: Akselrod, left, with a friend
Akselrod also underwent a breast amputation, a surgical procedure that removes one breast, on her right breast.
However, she said that the most difficult part of the treatment was losing her naturally curly hair.
& # 39; Losing my hair was losing control of my body, & # 39; Akselrod said TODAY.
& # 39; Although I don't know if I would necessarily have been too happy if I had decided to shave my head for some other reason, it was really upset at the time. I wore wigs very, very rarely. & # 39;
Akselrod is now cancer free and says that women are their own best advocates and insist on testing and screening if they also have doctors who ignore their symptoms or concerns.
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