Breast cancer survivor says self exam saved her life

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INDIANAPOLIS – A breast cancer survivor shares her story with FOX59 and explains how she saved her own life.

Tracy Jaisle was your typical supermom and wife. At 38 years old she was an avid runner and had even completed a marathon. But just eight months ago she added breast cancer survivor to her collection of many hats.

“Going from running my kids to practice to soccer and football and working a full-time job and being a mom I went to oh my God, I could die,” said Tracy Jaisle.

She discovered a lump in her breast while washing her body during her nightly shower. The first night she didn’t think anything of it. The next day she knew something was wrong when she felt it again during her self breast exam. She called her OB/GYN immediately. In a matter of weeks she went from the exam room to her first chemotherapy treatment.

“You know your body better than anyone else ever will. I think there’s a lot of literature, a lot of things out in the media that say maybe¬†we don’t need to do self breast exams because they don’t really decrease the rate of finding cancer. But people know their bodies,” said Dr. Monet Bowling, a breast surgeon with IU Health.

Bowling treated Tracy at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center. She says Tracy had an aggressive form of cancer that wasn’t detected through a mammogram. They opted for a double mastectomy because of the risk of the cancer returning.

“She’s amazing. She didn’t let the chemo stop her. She didn’t let the surgery stop her. She didn’t let reconstruction stop her. She just kept going. I think that’s really important for people to remember. It’s a cancer diagnosis, it’s not a death sentence.”

Tracy is now cancer free and looking forward to living the rest of her life as a survivor.

“I want my 45 years of additional life,” said Tracy.

Bowling highly suggests women perform self breast exams and follow the guidelines of a yearly mammogram for women over 40. If you don’t know how to perform the self breast exam, contact your OB/GYN or family doctor.