Breast cancer survivor: You 'shouldn't wait' for screening

At age 28, Lola Brown was enjoying life. She had a new husband and son and was excited about her blossoming career in banking.

So when she felt a lump in her breast, she had ruled out cancer because she thought she was “too young.” Now eight years later, she’s speaking out to warn other young women about a disease that can strike at any age.

“There was definitely no need for me to think that cancer was the diagnosis,” Brown said. “I felt like I was living a healthy lifestyle, I was very active, and especially as 28, I never thought that I would be diagnosed with cancer.

But in January of 2003, when Lola Brown went to her doctor to check on a lump in her breast, that’s exactly what she found.

“I was devastated. Completely devastated. I was newly married, had a young son, was transitioning in life with a career,” she said.

She acted fast, removing the breast completely – and the cancer with it.

“I was originally diagnosed in January, so I’d say by April I was back to work…back to doing things as normal.”

But “normal” didn’t last.

Six years later, at age 34, Lola found out the cancer was back. This time, it was more aggressive and would require months of chemotherapy and radiation.

Two years later, she’s cancer free and a two-time cancer survivor – at just 38 years old.

She’s using her story to reach out to other young women about a disease she never even knew she had to fear.

“Many of the women I saw on tv were older women,” Brown said. ”[But] even in your early 20s, I would advise you to get screened, it can happen to you, the risk factor of breast cancer is that you’re a woman. period.”

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You can follow Blayne on Twitter: @ReporterBlayne

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