Lauren’s Story: Be Your Own Advocate

Lauren, only 22 years old when diagnosed with Stage 2 ductal carcinoma, has been very active in speaking to young women about early detection of breast cancer.

In August 2009, Lauren McClure felt a lump in her breast. She had no family history of breast cancer, but her family doctor referred her to Miami Valley Hospital. A biopsy revealed that the tumor was malignant, and had attached to the back of her left nipple.

After discussing options with her surgeon, Lauren decided to have both of her breasts removed. At the time, she was only 22 years old, and diagnosed with Stage 2 ductal carcinoma.

“I decided to have a prophylactic (preventive) mastectomy and implants,” said Lauren. “It was a difficult decision, but I was fortunate the cancer had not gone into my lymph nodes.”

Lauren raves about all the support and help that she received from the Miami Valley Hospital Medical/Surgical clinic, social services, patient navigators and staff. “Miami Valley Hospital has been wonderful. Everyone respected how young I was, and saw my cancer through the eyes of a young woman.”

Chemotherapy made Lauren very sick. “The nurses became my best friends. We laughed and talked during my chemo sessions. The staff knew what I was going through, and understood how hard it was for me to relate to my peers.”

Nikki, a social worker at Miami Valley Hospital, worked tirelessly to help Lauren with her mounting medical bills. She was able to work with the pharmaceutical companies, who ended up assisting Lauren. “Without Nikki as a resource, I would have had to do it myself. Dealing with bill collectors is not what I wanted to do when I was feeling so sick,” Lauren says.

“Today, I am doing fantastic,” Lauren adds. “I feel great, and I’m keeping a positive attitude about everything and everyone. There’s no room for negativity in my life. I’ve fought really hard, and I want to do things that make me happy.”

Lauren has been very active in speaking to young women about early detection. Her message is: Be you own advocate and take charge of your own health. “If I had waited another year, the cancer would have been in my lymph nodes and been untreatable.”

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