What It's Like to Have Breast Cancer

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Mary Beth Brenner
Photo by Avery Powell

Mary Beth Brenner, Age 49

I had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), where abnormal cells are in the lining of the milk ducts. It's like stage 0 cancer, but I knew I'd drive myself crazy worrying about it recurring or becoming invasive. I did so much research, but nobody tells you what to do. One doctor said you just have to go with your gut. I decided to have a double mastectomy and said, "Just take them off and give me implants. Everybody has implants; it's no big deal." I did what I had to do and got on with it. I'm grateful it wasn't anything worse.

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