Hillary Karels

First post: Mar 3, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.  A few weeks ago while I was breastfeeding Colleen, I found a lump in my right breast. Ugh.  We went to the doctor and after several x-rays, ultrasounds and a biopsy, I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer.  The kind I have is called Ductal Carcinoma In situ or DCIS.  

The doctors are positive and we hope we have caught it early. I feel like my beautiful baby girl Colleen saved my life, because maybe I wouldn’t have found it this early.  Right now they are calling it “Stage 0”, and hopefully it is contained and not spread to the lymph nodes.  We will know more when I have my surgery the first week of April.

After talking with the doctors at the Piper Breast Institute and because I’m so young, there is a high risk of the cancer coming back, so we have decided that a bi-lateral or double mastectomy is the best choice.  I know it’s a lot, but if it hasn’t spread I'll be cancer free and lower the risks of if it returning.

A bit about the diagnosis:
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is non-invasive breast cancer. Ductal means that the cancer starts inside the milk ducts, carcinoma refers to any cancer that begins in the skin or other tissues (including breast tissue) that cover or line the internal organs, and in situ means "in its original place." DCIS is called "non-invasive" because it hasn’t spread beyond the milk duct into any normal surrounding breast tissue. DCIS isn’t life-threatening, but having DCIS can increase the risk of developing an invasive breast cancer later on.

When you have had DCIS, you are at higher risk for the cancer coming back or for developing a new breast cancer than a person who has never had breast cancer before. Most recurrences happen within the 5 to 10 years after initial diagnosis. The chances of a recurrence are under 30%.

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