At the height of her career as a dancer, Olivia Hutcherson found an unexplained splotch of blood inside her shirt—on her 26th birthday, no less.
While only about 5% of women get breast cancer under the age of 40, that’s still 12,000 women per year. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate,” Olivia says. So although doctors told her there was nothing to worry about, she pressed on, fueled by a gut feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
“I went back to the doctor just three days later, and I requested a mammogram. They didn’t want to give it initially, because I was 26, I had never smoked, I had no family history. But I wasn’t leaving until I got it,” she says.
Olivia did end up getting the mammogram she requested, and doctors discovered she had ductal carcinoma in-situ and would need chemotherapy.
Check out the video below to learn more about Olivia’s treatment, her life after cancer, and some helpful things to know about your breast cancer diagnosis options.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?