Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Prioritizing Self-Care

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USAA employee, ​​​Jennifer H., pictured with her husband and children, says routine mammograms enabled her doctor to catch her breast cancer early.​

 

Since her mid-30s, Jennifer H. has had routine mammograms. It’s a decision she says saved her life.  

 

“I had my first baseline mammogram when I was 35 and when I turned 40, I started getting them every year,” says Jennifer, manager, real estate processing. “In November 2019, something didn’t look right during my routine mammogram. They told me not to worry, that can happen, but they needed to perform a biopsy.” 

 

Unfortunately, the biopsy results came back, and the doctor told Jennifer she had breast cancer.  

 

“Hearing that news really freaked me out in that moment,” she recalls. “But I put on my ‘big girl pants' and started doing the research and learning about the next stages and my options for treatment.” 

 

Within weeks, Jennifer underwent surgery to remove the cancerous tissue.  

 

“They were able to remove it all,” she says. “I had clear margins and didn’t have to undergo radiation.” 

 

While the surgery was successful, Jennifer says she isn’t entirely out of the woods. She continues to meet with her oncologists every six months until she reaches the five-year mark.  

 

“Early detection is key,” she says. “If I wasn’t going to the doctor regularly and I had waited too long, it might have been a much different diagnosis.” 

 

It’s an example Jennifer hopes her friends and family will learn from. 

 

“I’m leading by example, I want my children to know that this is what you do as you get older – you take care of yourself,” she explains. “Self-care is so important. I often hear people say they avoid routine exams because it might be uncomfortable, but you have to just do it. It could really be a life-or-death decision.” 

 

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