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NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren Shares The Unusual Breast Cancer Symptom She Nearly Missed

It was one of those surreal coincidences, one of those moments where life shows you a clue, and you happen to see it. For Kristen Dahlgren, a reporter for NBC, a story she did in 2016 would change her life. A piece about unusual breast cancer symptoms would likely be the thing to give her a fighting chance at survival when she discovered an unusual breast cancer symptom in herself. 

Active, healthy, and just in her 40’s, Kristen was the picture of health. With a recent “negative” on her mammogram, breast cancer was likely the last thing on her mind, were it not for this story she had recently reported on. (1) It was about breast cancer, and some of the lesser-known symptoms. She reported on a study in which 1 in 6 women with breast cancer presented with something other than a lump. Things to look out for include changes around the nipple area, in density or size of the breast itself, and dimples and dents in the breast tissue, she learned. 

Soon after reporting on the story, on her 47th birthday, she noticed a change… a “dent”. The tissue beneath the dent felt different than everywhere else. So she had it checked out as soon as possible. Though she was right in between stories, and life wasn’t slowing down any time soon, she knew this was something that needed to be looked at right away. That story she’d reported on about the unusual breast cancer symptoms just would not leave her mind. Sure enough, a stage 2 cancer diagnosis came back. She has since begun treatment, and faces a long road ahead. But she is bravely sharing her story with the world because she knows that knowledge is power. (1) We’re all in this together.

A Breast Cancer Symptom May Not Be A Lump

Know thyself. It’s just great advice for life. Know yourself intimately, on an emotional level and a physical one too. So go on… touch those tatas, girl. It’s so important that you know what your own healthy breasts look and feel like, so if changes happen, you’ll be able to easily spot them. While it is true that most cases of breast cancer present with a lump, as Kristen herself reported, 1 in 6 cases present with something else. 

It’s a great idea to check your breasts on a monthly basis, and you can do it right in the shower. (2) Simply bring one hand behind your head and feel the breast on that same side. Use your fingers to gently massage in small circles all around the whole breast area. Use light, medium, and firm touch. Squeeze the nipple and look for discharge. Notice any changes in the overall appearance of each breast and each nipple as well.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary like a lump, dent, discharge from the nipple, or discolorations in any part, get yourself in for a medical exam right away.

Detecting and treating breast cancer is an all hands on deck maneuver. Because you’re the one with them, you’re the first line of defense! Mammograms are only about 87% effective, and even less so when the tissue is dense. (3) But as with any type of cancer, early detection is key. So regular self-exams, and being aware of changes, may really be the thing that puts the odds in your favor. 

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