Young breast cancer survivor urges others to ‘know their bodies’

Health

(NewsNation Now) — During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, one young woman is sharing her journey of strength after recovering from a rare form of the disease.

Rebecca Julinet was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and Paget’s disease at the height of the pandemic, undergoing a bilateral mastectomy just two weeks after her diagnosis. She was only 27 years old at the time.

“My cancer was grade three, so it was an aggressive form of breast cancer. But the Paget’s disease, only about 4% of breast cancer patients are diagnosed with that type of breast cancer,” Julinet explained on “Morning in America” Thursday.

Paget’s disease is most common in middle-aged individuals, primarily between 50 to 60 years old, according to rarecancers.org.

At the time of her discovery, Julinet was a medical student preparing to take the MCAT. She said she noticed signs but didn’t push to get diagnosed until after taking her exam.

“It happened so quickly. I was diagnosed on May 27, and two weeks later, I was in for my surgery. I didn’t, in the moment, think that I had a choice; there was no choice. The only choice was to survive.”

Julinet has no family history of breast cancer, but she decided to share her story to bring awareness to people getting familiar with their bodies and noticing any changes.

“I think it’s important for me because of not only how rare the breast cancer I was diagnosed with is but also the fact that I’m still young and that it happened to me with no family history, no genetic mutation,” Julinet explained. “I wanted people to be aware of the symptoms; I wanted them to be aware of getting to know their bodies, getting to know their normal and how important that is.”

Her advice to other women is to get routine checkups and mammograms, regardless of their age or statistical parameters.

“I definitely encourage women to do their monthly breast exams. I know that we have the American Cancer Society telling women that it’s not effective and kind of discouraging it, but I definitely do encourage people to continue to do that because that’s what saved my life,” Julinet said.

Watch the full interview in the media player above.

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