Breast cancer survivor shares story hoping to inspire others to get tested

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (WBAY) - While this month highlights breast cancer awareness, this Friday on National Mammography Day, women are urged to make an appointment for a screening.

Just three years ago, just days after her 28th birthday, Rebecca Schnell, got the unexpected news.

“I got out of the shower and I just noticed that I had a dimple in my right breast, and it kind of looked like cellulite and I was just like what is this,” said Schnell.

Not too long after she had a lumpectomy, removing the tumor and surrounding tissue. She had a lot of questions because breast cancer doesn't necessarily run in her family, but doctors told her she tested positive for a genetic mutation called CHEK2.

“They could tell the CHECK2 gene mutation was passed down from either my mother or my father so if your mother or father has it you have a 50% chance of getting it also,” said Schnell.

Turns out her mother had the same gene mutation and has been monitored ever since.

This is why Aurora Baycare's Breast Health Center Director, Doctor William Owens said women by age 25 need to talk to their doctors about their own risk.

“We achieve cure at very high rates now, it's one of the reasons I went into the breast cancer field because there has been this gradual improvement in survival rates at the same time there has been this gradual decrease in the aggressiveness in the treatment that we do,” said Doctor Owens.

Schnell said she asked a lot of questions wanting to become empowered. She hopes her story helps others do the same.

“I never in a thousand years I would have breast cancer, so I am walking proof of how important it is to listen to your body, to make sure you have a doctor you are in contact with and feel comfortable going to,” said Schnell.