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Sitting in class, my phone rings. From the other end of the phone I hear, "You have breast cancer." Everything goes dark. Shock followed by a full on panic attack... No way, I'm 27...I have 2 kids... My husband, I have to tell him. What about my mom? Must be a mistake…
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While plastic surgery is rarely covered by most insurance providers, breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is a different issue — yet access to this type of coverage isn't granted to all survivors. Elderly and underprivileged women are especially under-served.
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Mammograms are one of the best methods to catch breast cancer. If the disease is caught early enough, the five-year survival rate is 96%. But many women in the U.S lack health insurance that covers the full cost, and cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket.
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Two weeks after I celebrated being cancer free for one year, I received a phone call from my sister. Unfortunately, with our busy lives it is not every day we have the opportunity to chat on the phone unless there is something to be planned or a question to be asked. This wasn't either one of those calls. Immediately, I knew there was some news; there was something just a little off with this conversation.
After a few minutes went by I asked her when her mammogram was scheduled again. For some reason I just could not remember the day she told me it was scheduled. I'm sure I had asked her three times in the last month and a half, and of course I felt guilty for asking again. Then it hit me! This was the reason for the phone call. The reason everything seemed off.
I braced myself for what was to come. My sister, whom I have admired from day one, was telling me about an MRI biopsy she had a week prior. The pathology report came back as Atypical Lobular Hyperplasia (Stage 0, also known as pre-cancer.) Her diagnosis differed from my original one, but the chosen treatment path would be the same. Here we go again...