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In January of 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had no lumps and no pain. Never in my 42 years of life had I had a mammogram. I read articles about how mammograms before age 50 are useless, senseless and sometimes over expose women to unnecessary radiation which can actually cause breast cancer, so I chose not to have one annually and I wasn’t going to until after I turned 50. I really had nothing to worry about. There was no history of breast cancer in my family, no obvious symptom, so?

I was, however itchy. I scratched and scratched. No skin abnormalities, just dryness and I could not get the itching to stop, no matter what product I put on, so my immediate reaction was to go to a dermatologist. However, my boyfriend convinced me to get a mammogram. My mammogram led to diagnostic testing, which led to a lumpectomy, which then lead to a decision, to have a mastectomy or breast conservation.

When I was faced with this horrible disease, all I wanted is it to be gone. I wanted my journey with it to be short lived. I read that many women who elected breast conservation would eventually have to have a mastectomy. After numerous sleepless nights, breast conservation didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I will not pretend that having a bilateral mastectomy was an easy decision to make and the indescribable pain that I experienced during recovery was not something I want to ever do again. But, I will say, my boyfriend pushing me to get tested saved my life, making this decision saved my life, and my surgeons saved my life. My advice to women aged 40+, do not underestimate the power of a mammogram, it could save your life.

Kelly Sanchez
Rio Rancho, NM

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Your click on the "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button helps fund free mammograms for women in need — low-income, inner-city and minority women whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited. Your click is paid for by site sponsors, and mammogram funding is provided to clinics throughout the U.S. through grants distributed by With a simple, daily click of the pink "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button at The Breast Cancer Site, visitors help to provide free mammograms for women in need. Visitors pay nothing. In addition to clicking the pink "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button, visitors can help more by shopping in The Breast Cancer Site store. With each item purchased, shoppers generate funds that provide free mammograms for women in need.

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