A young mother found a lump while breastfeeding, thanks to a checkup!

Like many new mothers, Sarah Cawley, a 32-year-old physician assistant from Medina, chose to breastfeed her baby.

While breastfeeding her second daughter, Sarah saw a lump in her breast and went to the doctor. The lump was later confirmed to be a breast cyst, but doctors encouraged her to schedule another test after breastfeeding.

During Sarah’s second visit, Dr Debra Pratt, medical director of Fairview Hospital’s Breast Health Centre, found another lump. Dr Pratt strongly advised Sarah to return to the hospital for follow-up to monitor the lump. Sarah is still young, with a busy job, a family and two daughters, one of whom needs special care. She didn’t think she needed to spend too much time on her health, but Sarah went to the hospital for a checkup on Dr Pratt’s advice.

When the lump was found to be larger, Dr. Pratt ordered an excisional biopsy. The results were shocking. Sarah was diagnosed with stage II invasive ductal carcinoma. Although Sarah’s lump was small, the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. Dr Pratt said: “Sarah’s small tumor illustrates the importance of testing after a lump is found – no matter the size of the lump.”

Although Sarah was horrified by the test results, she was still optimistic. “I appreciate Dr. Pratt’s insistence on monitoring the lump,” she said. Two weeks after her diagnosis, Sarah underwent a modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer.

Dr Pratt said: “Because breast cancer is so rare in young women, many of the symptoms are often overlooked. Sarah did everything that needed to be done: she had follow-up tests for the lump, then focused on treatment, first surgery, Then chemotherapy and radiation.”

“Young women with breast cancer have unique needs, and for women under 50, there may be other issues, such as genetic risk factors and fertility issues. That’s why we’ve formed a group around the specific needs of young breast cancer patients. Teams of experts and programs,” said Dr. Jame Abraham, director of the Breast Oncology Program at the Cleveland Clinic.

The Young Women’s Breast Cancer Program has a multidisciplinary team who work with each patient to develop the best treatment plan so that they can have no worries about their overall future health. While Sarah owns a treatment team, Dr. Abraham manages the entire systemic treatment regimen and the two have developed a special relationship.

“Dr. Abraham treats his patients with sincerity, not just in cancer care, but the whole person – who he was born to be,” Sarah said.

Shortly after surgery, she started 6 cycles of chemotherapy and 25 radiation treatments and participated in a clinical trial. “By participating in this clinical trial, Sarah is not only helping herself but others,” Dr Abraham said.

On the first day of chemotherapy, a social worker handed Sarah a package containing a quilt, a book and a card. A previous breast cancer patient left the package and asked to send it to “the next young woman ready to fight!”

Sarah was so inspired that she found the patient (Laura, 33) on social media and they formed a special friendship. A few months later, after learning that Laura’s cancer had returned, the two met for the first time at the Cleveland Clinic. There, Sarah returned the love package to Laura in preparation for the next phase of treatment.

Sarah is still receiving treatment. She believes that the reason why she can persist in treatment is because of the support of her friends and husband, as well as her trust in doctors.

Dr. Debra Pratt believes that many young women have symptoms of breast cancer, but they may ignore the signs because they don’t think they have the disease.