Tracy Jaisle was a 38-year-old mother and wife as well as marathon runner when she was tragically diagnosed with breast cancer. She was taking her nightly shower when she noticed a lump in her breast. The next day, she performed a breast self-exam and felt the same bump again. This time, she decided to call her OB/GYN to inspect the abnormality in more detail.
She was glad she did. Jaisle had an aggressive form of breast cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. After the treatments were over, Jaisle decided to begin the process toward reconstructive surgery. She feels that by performing the self exam, she was able to save herself from a more advanced form of the disease. She is now cancer-free.
“You know your body better than anyone else ever will,” says Dr. Monet Bowling, a breast surgeon with IU Health and Jaisle’s doctor. “I think there’s a lot of literature, a lot of things out in the media, that say maybe we we don’t need to do self breast exams because they don’t really decrease the rate of finding cancer. But people know their bodies.”
The National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends adult women of all ages perform a breast self exam monthly.
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?