Tell Me Something I Don't Know about Breast Cancer: You're Never Too Young to Worry
BRADENTON - Emily Rhoads took all the right precautions.
“We’ve all been taught since elementary school, middle school, whatever it was, to do your self breast exams; and I actually have a lot of cancer history in my family, including breast cancer, so I was always pretty diligent about checking in," Rhoads said.
She says she checks every month, and she’ll never forget the self exam she did right after her 26th birthday.
“I found my tumor, and I was like, 'Wait hold on, you know, this just isn't right,'” Rhoads said.
She was just weeks away from moving to Texas, and given her family history, she saw a doctor.
"He referred me to get an ultrasound, just to double check it, but because I was so young, I was not taken seriously at the radiology center," Rhoads said.
They told her she was fine, and she carried on with her move and her life.
“It wasn’t until ten months later that I actually was officially diagnosed," Rhoads said.
In that time her tumor doubled in size. She had Stage 3 breast cancer.
"It was a whole rush of emotions. It was sadness, fear, anger because I’d gone this long having cancer inside of me and just carrying on my life because the other doctors deemed me too young to be taken seriously," Rhoads said.
She knew deep down she would fight it and beat it.
“Within three weeks from diagnosis, I was sitting in the chair for my first chemotherapy," Rhoads said.
After 16 rounds of chemo, 30 rounds of radiation and a double mastectomy, Rhoads has important advice for women in their 20’s.
"Check your breast every month; feel it on the first. It’s really easy to remember: first of the month - pay your rent, pay your mortgage, feel your breast," Rhoads said.
She says be your own advocate.
“If you truly feel like something’s wrong you just have to push for yourself because it can be a matter of life or death for you," Rhoads said.
She's now cancer free and doing well.