MaryEllen Sheppard knew something was wrong as soon as she felt a thickened patch of skin on her right breast. She didn't feel a lump, but knew the change was different enough to get it checked out. A mammogram and subsequent biopsy caught her by surprise. She had breast cancer. Looking to share her experience with other women coping with this disease, the 53-year-old mom (and new grandmother) from Tempe, Arizona, allowed a video crew from Mayo Clinic in Arizona to follow her on her journey.
From the moment MaryEllen Sheppard was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, she wondered how she developed cancer.Her ancestors, she said, tended to live long, healthy lives.And other than a cousin, she wasn't aware of anyone else in her family who had breast cancer.
As her battle against the disease began, MaryEllen's thoughts also turned to her sisters, nieces, daughter and granddaughter who was on the way. Could they be at risk too? In late March, MaryEllen and her sister Eileen met with Mayo Clinic's genetic counselor Katherine Hunt to find out if genetics could have played a role in her diagnosis and get a better idea of how at risk her female relatives are.
The following video show excerpts from MaryEllen's actual counseling session with Katherine Hunt. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QGo93sVmEU