We are not invisible

At 30 years old I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am now 33 years old & I BEAT breast cancer! My name is Melissa Altamirano & I'm from Casa Grande Arizona. It all started with a smear done in my gynecologists office. Later I was told that I needed to go have a mammogram & to schedule an appt with a surgeon because the test found abnormal cells. I went for my mammogram & the images revealed a small area of clustered calcifications. The surgeon was very confident that everything was fine since I was so young. To be on the safe side he sent me in for a biopsy. The biopsy revealed that the small area of concern was malignant. I was told I had early stage breast cancer. I was also told that since it was found early it was very treatable. My treatment plan was to have a lumpectomy & radiation treatments. I was treated with Mammosite 5 day targeted radiation therapy. The next treatment plan was to start taking Tamoxifen. Throughout the next year I continued having issues with both breasts. I underwent 6 more painful biopsies & I was on close cancer surveillance. All of the biopsies came back as precancerous conditions, but due to the previous cancer & these conditions I was at high risk of getting cancer again. The only option I had was to have a full breast mastectomy. On may 30th 2008 I had a full breast mastectomy. Six months later…I was done. I try so hard to put it all behind me, but I can't. I need to speak out to all young women & let them know how important it is to do self breast exams & get mammograms (if needed) despite our age. We are not invisible.
Melissa Robles Altamirano
Casa Grande, AZ