KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Many women put off mammograms and self exams for fear of what they might discover.
But one local woman is sharing her story about breast cancer to share the message of early detection, especially when pregnant.
“I had found a lump during a self exam, and told my OB, and she had me go for an ultrasound. She didn’t think it was anything, but just to kind of check and make sure, and it came back that it was, indeed, cancerous,” breast cancer survivor Laura Grable said.
Grable, 34, said she does self breast exams monthly.
She was about nine weeks pregnant when she discovered the lump.
“I was shocked. I have no family history of breast cancer, and I like to exercise, I eat healthy, I have an older son who I breastfed for 18 months, so according to the statistics, I should not have breast cancer,” Grable explained.
But her doctor said you don’t have to have a history.
“Most women who get breast cancer don’t have a family history,” Dr. Timothy Pluard, Oncologist, and Medical Director for St. Luke’s Cancer Institute, said.
Dr. Pluard said they are seeing an increasing number of young women with breast cancer, and that you should always get any lumps or changes checked out.
“It can be complicated, because there are changes in the normal breast tissue that occur with pregnancy, so oftentimes it’s attributed just to that, but in this situation it was certainly something much more serious, and she was wise to act upon it,” Dr. Pluard said.
Grable said she was monitored very closely, she underwent treatment for about six months, and had doctors appointments all the time.
“That kind of started like a rollercoaster ride of treatment during pregnancy,” Grable added. “I didn’t know what kind of treatment I could have, how it would affect the baby. I just didn’t know what that meant going forward.”
“It’s particularly difficult in this situation because, obviously, because she’s worrying not just about herself, but also about her baby, and the implications on the baby,” Dr. Pluard said.
But Dr. Pluard said treatment depends on the timing of the pregnancy.
After the first trimester, they try to treat it almost the same as someone who isn’t pregnant.
“There’s a misconception out there about pregnancy and breast cancer, that if you get breast cancer when you’re pregnant that the outcome is going to be worse, or that the treatments are going to affect the baby, but we know the outcomes are just as good as when you’re pregnant versus not, and the affects of treatment on the baby are very minimal,” Dr. Pluard said.
Grable gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Lucy, who is now seven months old. And Grable is in remission.
“I caught it very early, like Stage I. I think, caught it very early,” Grable said. “Make sure you’re doing self exams. It could happen to anybody. It could have been a totally different outcome.”
Sunday, June 3, is National Cancer Survivor’s Day.
St. Luke’s will be sponsoring the Gilda’s Club KC Survivor Day Rally which will be held at Cancer Survivors Park on the Plaza from 12 - 3 p.m.