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Young Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story

Ty Walker

Young Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story

Danielle Iseminger is a breast cancer survivor. The 37-year-old Corbett woman and mother of two was determined cancer free in late December.

Just two months after undergoing double mastectomy surgery, she is playing volleyball, jogging, hiking and playing games with her family again. Her battle with cancer has been nearly a year-long journey since she stepped into the OHSU Mobile Mammography Clinic at Sandy Seventh-day Adventist Church last April.
She’s not quite sure what made her do it, but she decided to have her first mammogram. There was no history of breast cancer in her family, although there were relatives with other kinds of cancer. She didn’t feel any lumps and she was only 36 at the time. Was it intuition that led her to the free clinic? Or something else?
The communications coordinator and member of the Sandy church, Iseminger believes that God was behind her decision.

“I felt pressed that I needed to get a mammogram and it turned out that I did,” she said. “I guess God was pushing me toward it.”

After her appointment, she was told by the Oregon Health & Science University clinic to expect a letter with results of the mammogram, but instead she got a phone call. It was serious. An ultrasound had detected several large masses in her right breast and the clinic needed to do a biopsy of the tissue to see if they were cancerous.
On June 1, she learned she had stage 2 cancer. It was contained to her right breast and had not spread to other parts of her body, thanks to early detection. Further testing found her lymph nodes to be cancer-free, confirming that the cancer had not spread and was localized in her right breast.

The cancer diagnosis was followed by five months of chemotherapy with an oncologist from July through the first week of November. In December, she had double mastectomy surgery and less than a month later, she received the good news. Tests determined she was cancer-free.

“For now, I’m cancer-free and it feels great,” she said. She will stay on medication, an estrogen blocker, for five years, and continue to see her oncologist about every six months.

“I recommend any woman 35 or older should get a mammogram because you never know,” she said. “I had no idea and it was a good thing that I got one.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, except for skin cancers, according to the American Cancer Society website. Breast cancer accounts for about 30 percent (or 1 in 3) of all new female cancers each year.

Overall, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about a 13 percent (or 1 in 8) chance. In other words, there is a 7 in 8 chance she will never have the disease.
Breast cancer occurs mainly in middle-aged and older women. The median age at the time of breast cancer diagnosis is 62, which means half of the women who developed breast cancer are 62 years of age or younger when they are diagnosed. A very small number of women diagnosed with breast cancer are younger than 45.

The Sandy Seventh-day Adventist Church, 18575 SE Langensand Rd, Sandy, hosts the OHSU Mobile Mammography Clinic twice a year by appointment only. For more information, phone Tami Beaty at 503-698-4622.

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