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By TOM WILEMON
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ashley Roby kept the secret for months. She first noticed the lump in her left breast in the shower, but didn’t know what to do. She was only 14.
“I didn’t want to tell anybody because I thought it was just a little thing that was going to go away,” Ashley said. “Then it started growing, but I was in the middle of basketball season, so I didn’t want to say anything.”
After undergoing a double mastectomy in February, she is no longer silent. The high school sophomore went public to help others know that breast cancer can happen to anyone — even a teenager.
In her case, it was a rare, fast-growing version of the disease. The phyllodes tumor removed from Ashley accounts for about 1 percent of malignancies.
Dr. Scott Borinstein, the pediatric oncologist who treated Ashley, said hers is the first teenage case of breast cancer that he has seen in his three years at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Only about 5 percent of the breast cancers diagnosed in women in the United States are in females under the age of 40, said Susan Brown, managing director of community health for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
“The incidences of breast cancer in a teenager are so exceedingly rare that they are almost not counted,” Brown said.
Breast cancer did not seem plausible when Ashley first noticed the lump in November. She shared her secret three months later.
“It started scaring me because it started rotating and stuff,” she said. “I finally just told my mom that I had something in my breast that wasn’t normal.”
Within days, she was undergoing a lumpectomy. One of the doctors assured her mother, Kim Dobson, that the chances of the tumor turning out to be malignant were so remote that he would “bet his house” against a cancer diagnosis.
Then Dobson got the call.
“I was at work by myself and fell out of my chair,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
Her daughter did not have to undergo radiation or chemotherapy, but there would be medical bills for the mastectomy and lost paychecks, plus a breast reconstruction surgery looming.
Article source: http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20120817/NEWS01/308170001