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If I hadn't gone to Planned Parenthood, I would not have gotten my diagnosis of stage two breast cancer. I might not even be here today.

Eleven years ago, when I was 27, I was in between jobs with no health insurance. That’s when I discovered a lump in my breast through a self-exam. I didn’t have enough savings to go to a private doctor, so I figured I would just ignore the lump. I had no family history of breast cancer, and I hoped it was nothing important to worry about. I was really close to just ignoring it.

But then I remembered about Planned Parenthood. I called my local health center and went in for an appointment. I was diagnosed with invasive stage 2 breast cancer. I was surprised to hear the news, but Planned Parenthood was reassuring. They told me, “Don’t worry; you have options.” I went through chemotherapy, radiation, a lumpectomy, and five years of hormone treatment.

If I hadn’t gone to Planned Parenthood, I would not have gotten my diagnosis. I might not even be here today.

Last year, Planned Parenthood performed 550,000 breast exams and detected early cancer of all kinds in 85,000 women. My advice to women is to take your breast health seriously. Do your self-exams, get yourself checked out by a health professional, and follow up if something looks wrong.

I’m grateful that I had access to affordable health care during a time in my life when I was struggling to pay the bills. All Americans must have affordable health care because it gives them security.

Planned Parenthood was my safety net when I needed one. Thank you for finding my cancer early enough so I could be cured.

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