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'I was shedding like a cat': Jacksonville mother credits mammogram with helping her fight against breast cancer

Kristen Allen is beating breast cancer because she got her mammogram. Don't skip yours just because of the pandemic.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — "The hardest part was losing my hair, " says Kristen Allen, a 34-year-old Jacksonville mom whose smart decisions have saved her life.

Nope, watching her hair fall out in clumps was not easy.  

"It was on my pillow," she said.  

Even when she was washing dishes her hair would come out, and she was a bit horrified to see her hair flying out the car window when she was driving. 

Her two children, however, turned cutting her hair and then shaving her head into a family event. 

Credit: Allen

And it's all just part of her good story now. Why good? Her doctor at Baptist/MD Anderson, Breast Surgical Oncologist Dr. Laila Samiian, says she's confident Allen will totally beat her breast cancer.

"It's an aggressive form of breast cancer," Samiian said, but Allen caught it early enough that she should wind up with "a cure."

Allen says she was planning to have surgical work on her breast implants, but the doctor insisted on a mammogram first. The cancer was towards the back of her breast, most likely in a spot she couldn't yet feel it.

"The mammogram saved my life, hands down," Allen said.

Her message:  "Go get your mammogram."

Dr. Samiian says you can feel safe coming to a medical facility to get a mammogram, even during the pandemic. She says safety procedures are well-understood now and firmly in place. 

First Coast News and Baptist Health have been partners for our Buddy Check program for more than 25 years now. Buddy Check encourages you to do your self-exams, get regular mammograms and to see your doctor for exams. The program has saved thousands of lives.

If you'd like a Buddy Check kit, just call 904-202-CARE. You'll receive a kit in the mail for free.

If Buddy Check has helped you, First Coast News' Jeannie Blaylock would love to hear from you. Her email is: jblaylock@firstcoastnews.com 

Credit: FCN/Baptist