A Minnesota woman is crediting a breast self-exam program for helping save her life at a time when most women aren't even thinking about the deadly disease.
She is 27-year-old Jill Brandenburg. The program is Buddy Check 11, a partnership between the non-profit group Health Fair 11, UCare Minnesota and Cub Pharmacy.
"I was watching the commercial and I thought, you know, I haven't really checked myself, and I don't normally check myself since my age, but that day I did and I felt a lump on my right side," Brandenburg says.
A few weeks later, doctors performed an ultrasound and found the cancer. Fortunately, it hadn't spread.
"They said it's pretty much because I found it myself early, in the early stages, so it's probably the best thing I ever did."
Jill is the middle of chemotherapy, that will be followed by radiation treatments. During these uphill months, her mom, Joy, will be by her side.
"I thought it'd be me more than Jill, I mean I have girlfriends that have gone through it but they're in their 40's and 50's so when she found out she did, it just kind of took everybody down to their knees I think," Joy says.
It didn't take long after the initial shock for Jill to turn her focus to fighting the cancer for herself and her daughter.
"She's growing up so fast and I just want to be there through her whole life and that's why I want to fight it because she's everything to me," Jill says. "I'm just glad I had it checked out right away because it saved my life is what it did."
Buddy Check sends email reminders to women on the 11th of each month, reminding them to perform a self exam -- and to get a buddy to do the same. For more information, visit the
Buddy Check homepage.