Two life-saving tips from a breast cancer survivor

Did you know that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime? Breast Cancer is one of the leading causes of death facing women today. I spend a lot of time working with women, coaching the Women’s Jiu Jitsu team at Evolve Training Center and hosting events at The Women’s Wellness Center; so this cause is near to my heart. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month so we talked to Deb Krawiec (my assistant Allison’s mother), who is a breast cancer survivor and shares the two tips that saved her life. 

  • Get yearly mammograms starting at 40 (or earlier!)

I went for my first mammogram when I turned 40. There is no history of breast cancer (or really any type of cancer) in my family. My doctor probably suggested it and we had insurance that covered it, so I went. All was normal. The next year comes around and I think I almost skipped it, but each year you get a reminder that it’s time for your yearly check. This time there was something showing up that they wanted to recheck. I wasn’t too worried since I didn’t feel any lumps, it was just a mass of cells that needed rechecked. This happened a few years in a row, but tests always came back benign. Until one year, it didn’t.

When I hear that the suggested age to start mammograms is 45 I want to yell NO!! By 45 I was well on my way to recovery! It was barely stage one when we caught it, if I had waited until I was 45 it could have well been stage 2 or 3! It’s been 13 years now; I’ve welcomed a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and 2 granddaughters! I don’t want to think what could have happened if I waited.

Please, start at age 40, even if you’re in your 30’s and want to get checked for your own piece of mind, that’s never a bad idea!

  • Listen to your body and the signs

Before diagnosis, I was coming up on needing my yearly mammogram and was seriously just thinking of skipping it when I noticed a pain in my breast. They tell me that breast cancer does not hurt so I’m pretty sure it was God telling me to get it rechecked! This time the mass was more evident and they wanted to do a biopsy. They checked and yes, there were cancerous cells in my right breast. 

Thankfully it was contained to my right breast and hadn’t spread any further, so for treatment we could just target the cell mass.

I thank God for sending me that pain that got me back to the doctor. 

Deb’s life was saved by early-detection and her awareness that something was off. She caught it early, and as a result has spent the last 13 years blessing the world. Take her advice. If you have not talked to your doctor about getting a yearly mammogram, please do. I also encourage you to do self-checks, eat clean and healthy foods, and do what you can to reduce stress in your life. 

Be proactive. It just may save your life!  

For more information on how to perform a self-check:

If you need financial assistance for getting a mammogram please check out: 

Bay Area Cancer Connections

If you are currently in treatment for breast cancer and need financial support please check out:

The Breast Cancer Emergency Fund