October 18, 2005 at 5:21 PM CDT - Updated July 27 at 2:55 AM
Breast Implants Help Woman Find Cancer By: Wendy Ray
You hear about women finding a cancerous lump in their breast through self exams and mammograms, but a cosmetic procedure led Jennetta Stearns of Dexter, Missouri to find her lump.
"Everybody's telling me don't worry, it will be okay, but it doesn't matter how many people tell you. You know something's wrong, it's not supposed to go that way," Jennetta says. Jennetta never imagined she would ever hear the words, you have breast cancer, but she did at the young age of 26.
It all started in February of this year when Jennetta found a lump. She had gotten breast implants a few months prior, a gift to herself for graduating from nursing school. Jennetta didn't realize it at the time, but it was a gift that may have saved her life. "The lump had already gone through the chest wall. If it weren't for the implants pushing it forward it could have grown on the inside instead of surfacing like it did," Jennetta says. "It may seem strange, but I feel like in a way God watched over us to make it happen like it did. Nursing school happened, implants happened, then the cancer happened."
Jennetta had a double mastectomy, six months of chemotherapy, and is starting radiation next week. She says her husband and her five year old son keep her going. As a licensed practical nurse, Jennetta knows the importance of breast self exams and did them regularly before she was diagnosed. She hopes her story will inspire others to do the same. "Do your breast self exams like clockwork, plan on it, even if you're 40 and under. "Look at me, I didn't expect this to happen, do your breast exams," she says.
Jennetta did not have any risk factors associated with breast cancer and there is no history of the disease in her family.