Ellen learned she was a carrier of a BRCA2 gene mutation and decided to have Ashley tested as a teenager. The test confirmed Ashley was also a carrier of BRCA2, which is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Ashley called her mother one morning from Alabama, where she was attending college, with terrifying news — she found a lump and needed help. Ellen knew they should act quickly.
“Finding my lump was probably how you would imagine finding one — initial panic, a lot of crying in the shower and a lot of thinking the worst,” Ashley said.
For Ellen, the possibility of her only daughter being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 22 was devastating. She remembered waiting seven agonizing weeks for her own diagnosis, enduring delays with scheduling and referrals to see all of the required specialists.
“I can honestly say waiting for the results in between tests brought me more anxiety and stress than the actual moment I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Ellen said.