Breast cancer announcement by Florida First Lady sheds light on young women fighting disease

First Lady Casey DeSantis’s breast cancer announcement is shedding light on how common it is for younger women to get breast cancer. 

Most women come to the hospital and get a mammogram at 40. One woman tells FOX 35 News she was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer at 30 years old, and she is still fighting. 

Rucha Depina may look young and healthy. Young, she is, but on the inside, "now I am stage four. I’m going through treatments every three weeks. I’m also taking daily oral chemo pills." 

She is battling a rare form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. She was diagnosed last March at 30 years old.

Doctors initially thought her engorged breast was a result of mastitis from breastfeeding her daughter. 

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"In January, I had a swollen lymph node in my neck, and it was on the same side as my engorged breast and I was like okay, something’s not right." 

After several rounds of antibiotics and testing came the diagnosis. 

"It did take a while for me to get seen just because of my age and my family history of not having any breast cancer." 

She’s since completed six months of chemotherapy, had a double mastectomy, ten lymph nodes removed, radiation and immunotherapy. Two weeks after going into remission, she learned it spread to her brain. She is still undergoing treatment.

She wants women to advocate for themselves and for insurance companies and doctors to listen better to women of all ages. "I wish they would just take these concerns seriously. Yes, it’s going to be costly but eliminate that because if it’s detected early, it won’t spread as fast as it does." As for OB-GYN’s, she believes "they should share information with new mothers that are breastfeeding or even if they’re not because their bodies are changing." 

She urges new moms to do breast checks on the first of every month and urges doctors, "believe what the patient is saying because when you’re worried about your health, the last thing you want to worry about is these facilities. This can happen to anyone." 

Depina found resources through the Breast Cancer Foundation of Central Florida.

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