Vail Daily letter: Breast exam saved my life |

Vail Daily letter: Breast exam saved my life

Brielle Stockton
Vail, CO, Colorado

As a 34-year-old breast cancer survivor with no family history or risk factors to speak of, I have serious concerns about Monday’s report from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, which now recommends the start of biennial mammography screening at the age of 50. They also place no value in self-breast exams and even recommend against teaching how to perform them.

As I sit here alive today, I can tell you that a self-breast exam saved my life.

My thanks most certainly goes to Dr. Kate Skaggs, who taught me the correct way to do the exam many years ago.

Had I not performed this self-exam, and waited until the new recommended age of 50 to be screened, well, I don’t think I would have lived to receive my first mammogram.

There’s no telling how many other young women share this same story. It’s been proven that early detection saves lives, and all reports seem to show that breast cancer in young women in on the rise.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Why, then, would this task force want to push the screening age further back? Of all things, discourage self-breast exams?

After looking in the many faces of other young women like me, you can’t help but wonder why the screening age isn’t, in fact, lowered.

That the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force thinks women should wait until age 50 strikes me as simply outrageous.

Brielle Stockton


Support Local Journalism