Alex Whitaker was getting ready for a night out when she noticed a lump in her breast. The Florida native had recently returned home from a three-year stint in NYC and was excited to catch up with friends.
What should have remained a fun-filled reunion now marks the night of a shocking discovery.
“I have always hoped that ‘strong’ is one of the first words that comes to mind when my family and friends think of me. But I never imagined that I would earn that description by fighting breast cancer at just 24 years old,” Whitaker wrote in a heartfelt essay for People Health.
“I originally discovered my lump in early 2018 by doing something that was fairly routine for me — putting on a sticky bra.” Pushing on a bra petal, Whitaker discovered a prominent lump in her right breast.
“At the time, though, I was only concerned with not being the last person ready to rush out the door.”
But the next morning, the lump was still there — and was noticeably protruding. With concern growing, she booked an appointment with an OBGYN but was told not to worry — women her age are unlikely candidates for cancer.
Soon after, Whitaker was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma.
“Battling breast cancer has without a doubt been one of the toughest things that I have ever had to endure,” she wrote.
But instead of focusing on her pain, Whitaker says she was to build a support system for breast cancer warriors like herself.
“I hope to not only connect with women all over who are going through the same exact things as I am, but to also raise awareness among my peers that this can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Self-awareness and early detection are the strongest tools we have, and you are your own best advocate,” she said.
“Forming #WhittysTittyCommittee is one of the things that helps me to keep a smile on my face. I’ve already made such wonderful friends through sharing my story and it makes me feel so good to know that I’m helping people out.”