Thanks to early detection and mammography, more women surviving breast cancer. One young mother tells how early detection saved her life and the life of her child.
By Laura Klarman
Oct 21, 2015
Updated Oct 25, 2023
5 min read
Analey found a lump in her breast, and because her grandmother had been diagnosed with breast cancer at 38, and her sisters had also battled this prognosis, Analey felt an urgency to be screened right away. It was a good thing that she acted quickly. A mammogram showed that she had breast cancer.
At 28-years-old, she was terrified when she got the call. “I remember thinking, ‘I’m too young for this,’” says Analey. The diagnosis was stage three breast cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes.
In the United States, one in eight women will eventually develop the disease. Although thousands of women die each year of breast cancer, increasing numbers are surviving.
“This is due to both improved treatment and early detection. Since 1990, the death rate from breast cancer has decreased by 35 percent. Much of this improvement is attributable to screening mammography,” says Brett T. Parkinson, MD, medical director of the Intermountain Medical Center Breast Care Center and chairman of the Mammography Accreditation Program for the American College of Radiology.
With the lump growing rapidly, Analey and her husband Justin were bombarded with questions: Chemotherapy? How aggressive? How long? Can we save our child? How? How do we save Analey? Can we save them both? Will we be able to have more children?
Analey began chemotherapy while she was pregnant at Intermountain Medical Center. The goal was to make it to 37 weeks. The chemotherapy could slow down the baby’s growth, but it was the best plan for both of them.
Fortunately, thanks to her medical team, all went well for mom and baby. Justin Scott Miltenberger, Jr. was born at Intermountain Riverton Hospital on September 23, 2015 at a healthy 6.1 pounds and 19 inches long, just four weeks early.
“It is such a relief to have delivered him without complications and to finally hold him in our arms,” says Analey.
Now that Justin Jr. has been delivered, a more aggressive chemotherapy treatment begins. Analey anticipates having a double mastectomy and perhaps a hysterectomy.
Although she only had six days with little Justin before having to start chemo treatments again, Analey is grateful. “I don't know what my treatment plan looks like completely. There are still many unanswered questions at this point. And I'm pretty scared too, but I’m grateful for my healthy baby boy.”
Her message to other women: Perform your monthly breast self exam and get screened regularly. It just may save your life.