Sarah McLean was just 26 years old when a self-examination revealed a lump that was later diagnosed with breast cancer.
McLean was 19 years younger than the age that recommends the American Cancer Society (ACS) women to make mammograms, and the self-examination that she expects to save her life is no longer recommended by the ACS.
The two-time breast cancer survivor was at St. Mary's Women's Imaging Center, 316 W. Garriott, on Friday for the "Think Pink" luncheon, raising awareness of breast cancer and encouraging women to be proactive in it to be of their health.
McLean said she and her husband had been married for only about a year when she first met this node in 2003. Following her diagnosis, she received long-term radiotherapy, hormone therapy, a double mastectomy and several reconstructive surgeries.
Despite a double mastectomy, McLean again suffered a breast cancer in 201
Looking back on her experience, McLean assigns medical advice to save her life.
When she was 18 years old McLean's doctor recommended regular breast self-exam. She followed this advice and said it was the self-examination that led to the discovery and treatment of her breast cancer.
Dr. Emily Cooper, MD, a family medicine doctor at St. Mary's Physician Associates and presenter of Think Pink Luncheon, said McLean's story underscores the importance of following the breast cancer screening guidelines and women's family history Knowing to be Active (19659002) Changing the Guidelines
The guidelines for breast cancer testing have changed in recent years, boosting recommendations for mammograms in later years that were further from McLean.
According to the ACS guidelines, all women over the age of 45 should have annual mammograms; they should be available on request at the age of 40 and may have mammograms every two years from the age of 55. According to ACS figures, less than five percent of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer are younger than 40 years old.
While McLean rates her breast self-exam with the ability to detect and successfully treat her cancer, new medical guidelines are also leading women away from self-examination] Breast self-exams, long a staple of early detection recommendations for women, are not now recommended by the American College of Gynecologists and the ACS.
ACOG changed the guidelines last summer, citing stress on women through false positive breast exams
"A breast self-exam is not recommended in middle-risk women," according to ACOG in a July 2017 bulletin, "because that There is a risk that false-positive test results will be damaged and a lack of evidence for the benefit. "
ACS also changed its recommendation not to recommend self-exams, but to reverse the course through years of marketing campaigns urging women to To carry out self-examinations.
Recommendations also became less clear in the physical breast
The ACOG Bulletin of July 2017 states that there are conflicting guidelines from ACOG, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, ACS, and the US Preventive Services Task Force, whether clinical Breast Examinations Should Be Performed on Women with Moderate Risk or Not of Breast Cancer
Be Your Own Lawyer
Given the changing and even contradictory recommendations on breast exams, Cooper said it is becoming more important for women to take responsibility for their health to take over and to deal with her doctor. 19659002] "Know your story, know your body, have an open dialogue with your doctor and be proactive to your health," said Cooper.
While ACS and ACOG c hanged their guidelines on breast self-examination, McLean remains adamant in recommending women to "know their body".
"It's really important for you to know your own tissue," McLean said, "and to be your own advocate."
Based on her experience with breast cancer, McLean founded Project 31, a non-profit, faith-based support group for breast cancer patients in 2007, between her two cases of breast cancer.
"Through the emotional ups and downs of the treatment process, we only found that there were not that many resources available," McLean said.
She said that support is needed not only for breast cancer patients, but for all people in their lives.
"Cancer doesnt just affect the survivor," McLean said. "It affects her partner and the whole family, it's a curling effect."
McLean said her faith helped her with cancer treatment and led her to launch Project 31 to help others.
She said she initially avoided support groups because "I stereotyped support groups as a toxic environment of melancholy and despair," and she has been working to create an environment "to educate, equip, and empower women
Since 2007, Project 31 has grown to 10 hospitals in Oklahoma City, Stillwater and Tulsa, this year more than 800 women in support groups.
McLean said that all these women share an unwanted but undeniable bond.
"It's an unlikely sorority you would not sign up," she said, "but there's definitely a common bond once you've been there."
For more information about Project 31, visit project31 .com.