in

NBC's Kristen Dahlgren shares the unusual breast cancer symptom she nearly missed – TODAY, Today.com

NBC's Kristen Dahlgren shares the unusual breast cancer symptom she nearly missed – TODAY, Today.com


As a correspondent for NBC News for more than a decade, I’ve reported on countless stories. Some stand out more than others, but there is now one for which I will be forever grateful. It’s a story I credit with saving my life.

It was November and I was just back from maternity leave. I was sent to Rochester, Minnesota, to interview a doctor at the Mayo Clinic for what I thought was a routine assignment. A research study from the U.K. had found that around 1 in 6 women diagnosed with breast cancer went to the doctor with a symptom other than a lump.

While lumps are still themost commonly reported symptomof breast cancer, this study identified other signs such as nipple changes, dents, dimples, pain or redness.

For the story I interviewed a woman who was diagnosed only when she insisted on a second opinion, after noticing a subtle change in the shape of her breast. It turned out she had stage 3 breast cancer.

“It’s profoundly important to be aware of your breasts,” Dr. Deborah Rhodes, an internist with Mayo Breast Diagnostic Clinic, told me. I remember thinking that the story would save lives.

I had no idea the life it would save would be my own.

****************

In September this year, breast cancer was the last thing on my mind. I’m in my s. I’m active. I don’t have a family history of anyone getting breast cancer early – and perhaps most importantly, in April I had just had a mammogram that was negative.

Then, my world was turned on its head .

On my th birthday, I was getting ready to meet friends when I caught a glimpse of a slight dent in my right breast.

I had never noticed it before. I was great about regular self exams, but this time I paid attention.

Trending stories , celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

Beneath the dent, I did not feel a lump, but something I might describe as a “thickening.” It just felt different than everywhere else. I knew I needed to have it checked out, but life got busy.

The next day I was sent to cover a hurricane along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It would have been easy to put my own health aside and focus on work. My husband, however, wouldn’t let me, and I couldn’t get the study about unusual symptoms out of my mind.

My doctor wrote a prescription for breast screening and, in between live shots , I ran to the local hospital. With people evacuating in advance of the storm, they had an opening for a

mammogram and ultrasound.

“Why not just wait until you get home?” the nurse asked. I said, “I just need to know.”

**************

It still feels surreal, but I have always known I would share my story.
Courtesy Kristen Dahlgren
() Within days, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.

Since then, my life has been filled with doctor appointments, chemotherapy and, yes, tears. In my darkest moments, I ask, “Why?” though I try not to dwell on that. I have too much to do.

It is not easy to talk about, but I have always known I would share my story. Often it still feels surreal, but I know there is power in knowledge.

If I hadn’t done that story, I might have ignored the change in my breast. I might have assumed a mammogram would have picked up cancer.

I have since learned they are only (*********************************************************% effective and are less sensitive in women like me with dense breast tissue. I might not have gotten another mammogram for a while. I hate to admit it, but I had let years go between screenings in the past.

I try not to play the “what if” game too often, but I will say, I feel very luckyI got checked outwhen I did.

I recently traveled back to Rochester, Minnesota, and met up again with Rhodes. After collapsing in her arms in a puddle of tears and gratitude, we talked about what we want other women to know.

In between live shots in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, I ran to the local hospital for a mammogram and breast ultrasound.
Courtesy Kristen Dahlgren
****************************************** “If this story saved me, how many other women are out there that need this?” I asked. “This is more common than we appreciate.”

She answered, explaining, “In almost every case of a patient who has found her own breast cancer, she will tell me a similar story … ‘I didn’t exactly know what I was looking for, but when I noticed it, I knew it was important.’ ‘

Rhodes detailed symptoms women should look for:

(****************************** (A dimple) **************************************************

(**************************************************************************

************** (Read More) ************************************

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

The Morning After: Apple's $ 52,599 Mac Pro – Engadget, Engadget

The Morning After: Apple's $ 52,599 Mac Pro – Engadget, Engadget

There’s a huge change coming from the Fed (just not today) – MarketWatch, Marketwatch.com

There’s a huge change coming from the Fed (just not today) – MarketWatch, Marketwatch.com