Jessica's Story

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Jessica is a 37-year old breast cancer survivor. She is a mother of two and lives in France. 

Jessica went to four different doctors about her breast symptoms. Each time she was told she was too young for cancer and not to worry. After six months of visits to doctors, she was finally offered an ultrasound.

This is her story.

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“My name is Jessica Lozano, I’m married with 2 kids. I have Mexican parents (all my family are from Mexico and USA) but I was raised in France. My parents were frequent flyers so I traveled around the world. I studied journalism and biology, and until June 2019, I tutored seniors in high school and had my own business.  

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I met with Jeune et Rose [a Breast Cancer Charity in France] in November 2018. At a concert they handed me a Know Your Lemons flyer and asked, “Did you know you can get cancer at a young age?” I was surprised at first, but I told them that I was vigilant as my aunt had metastatic cancer. At age 13, I saw an ad in a magazine about self-exams, with the very strong message “checking your breasts and doing self-exams can save your life“. I don’t know why, but ever since then I’ve checked at least every other month.  

In early 2019 I felt a lump and it stayed for several menstrual cycles… not getting bigger or changing, but always there. I checked with two different doctors and they told me the same thing “it’s nothing”, “it’s in your head”, “you can’t have cancer at your age,” etc.

I remembered the lemons: and I had a change in shape size, a hard lump and an inverted nipple: 3 out of 12 signs! I asked the doctor “Is it like bingo ? Do you have to get them all?” As she saw that I insisted something was wrong, she finally agreed on doing a mammogram. One month later, the radiologist told me that I was too young for a mammogram and that it might lead to cancer when I am 70, so I should do a sonogram first. After the sonogram, the doctor asked if I wanted a biopsy. I wasn’t given any information on what to expect during a biopsy in terms of pain or time it would take, but I knew it would give me answers and without a doubt, I was sure it was something. My body knew it was something weird. A week after the exam, on July 16, 2019 I’m in a little room when the radiologist tells me, “You were right, it’s triple negative cancer. You have several exams planned this week and next week. You have an appointment with Bergonié (the biggest cancer center in Bordeaux) in August. We’ll take care of you.”

This was the only time I wanted to be wrong! But at least I was taken seriously. The tumor was a T1N0M0, less than an inch in diameter, so I got a tumorectomy, followed by 12 chemos and 33 radiotherapy session. The treatments lasted 180 days, but I’m alive! 

I still have two mandatory exams for a year for the next 5 years, a palpation with a doctor and a sonogram/mammogram. This month I have an appointment with oncogenetics: a cousin of mine has BRCA2 and every generation in our families had a case or two of cancer. So if the test turns out to be positive I’ll go through a preventative mastectomy with direct reconstruction and a preventative fimbriectomy.

1 out of 8 women will have breast cancer, so prevention is key. I feel like knowledge is power, but you have to know what to look for.”

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