Don't Take Breast Health for Granted. Advocate for Yourself with a Megaphone.
Cancer changes your life, but you can fight it with early detection. I am convinced based on my own experience that you can and should be proactive about your health. I discovered a lump in my neck that was cancerous, but I wasn't paying attention to my body. So, I know that one of the most proactive things you can do to fight cancer is to look for abnormal lumps in your body and quickly have them checked out by a specialist. Indeed, regular manual checks for lumps are essential breast health at any age, and having a great medical team to go to when you have cancer health concerns is essential.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month I have partnered with City of Hope Orange County to share the story about Leslie Bruce, a38-year-old super mom and highly recognized author fighting breast cancer, encouraging us to advocate for our health with a megaphone. I had the pleasure of talking to Leslie about her breast cancer journey, including her diagnosis and the outstanding care at City of Hope Orange County.
Leslie Bruce took her breast health seriously when she discovered a lump even though she was too young to have a mammogram. She was 38 years old, and the recommended age is 40. Still, she knew something was wrong by listening to her body and gut; she got a mammogram and a subsequent biopsy, which confirmed the diagnosis. "It hit me like a freight train," Leslie told me in a recent interview.
She was in shock, considering she had no family history of breast cancer, but she buckled down and began researching care. She was referred to City of Hope Orange County by a friend and found that they were the not just the best cancer hospital in the area but also a world-class facility with state-of-the-art cancer treatments.
City of Hope has exceptional expert and compassionate care for cancer patients; Leslie added, "I had the most incredible surgery team… and my chemo doctor was very calm and leveled because going into chemotherapy terrified me. He was very thoughtful, calm, and patient with me and my millions of questions, especially because I had to go through it all alone due to the COVID restrictions."
The pandemic forced Leslie to walk into every surgery, treatment, and appointment by herself. It meant the world to her to have her medical team be empathetic and compassionate, which created an essential support structure. She describes eloquently how the whole City of Hope staff embraced her, from the administrators to the social workers and medical assistants. She could not imagine how she could have gotten through her cancer care without everyone there.
Leslie is now a year since her diagnosis and uses her extensive social platform to share her story. She wants to urge all of us to advocate for our health with a megaphone. If you are young or have never had health complications and don't feel good or think something is wrong, you need to check it out by a doctor. Leslie was a couple of years away from the recommended mammogram, but she felt a lump in her breast and advocated for testing. That decision saved her life.
Get yourself checked early and soon, and if you or someone you know is looking for top-quality cancer care, you don't need to travel far. Check out City of Hope right here in Orange County.