Dr. Robin Hall received regular mammograms and ultrasounds for 25 years.
A few months after her last tests came back clear, she noticed her right breast had grown.
She was diagnosed with a fast-growing cancer, and underwent a double mastectomy.
As a family physician who’d survived a breast cancer scare at age 38, Dr. Robin Hall was on top of her breast health.
The 63-year-old near Fort Worth, Texas, said she had gotten regular mammograms for 25 years, and underwent regular ultrasounds too since she has dense breasts.
So when both tests came back clean in January 2021, Hall thought she was fine for the next year, she told Today.com. But a few months later, she noticed her right breast seemed to be growing larger than her left.
“Most women are little asymmetrical anyway. But then one morning I woke up and it wasn’t subtle anymore and I said, ‘We’ve got a problem,'” she told Today. “Never would I have dreamt that a few months prior, everything was fine and then it changed like that.”
Hall shared her story to raise awareness of lesser-known signs of breast cancer, and to encourage other women with dense breasts to request ultrasounds in addition to mammograms.
Double mastectomy to prevent the cancer spreading
After noticing the swelling, a sign of breast cancer, Hall underwent another mammogram, but it didn’t detect any issues. Only after requesting another ultrasound did the radiologist spot a fast-growing cancer in Hall’s right breast.
“If I had not been in the know and just done a regular mammogram and then just trusted that, I would not be in a situation I am right now,” she said.
She underwent a double mastectomy in September 2021 to remove the 1.5-inch tumor from her right breast and prevent another from developing in her left breast.
Breast cancer signs and symptoms everyone should watch out for
Hall said it’s important for women to be aware of breast cancer signs and symptoms other than lumps. Changes like new asymmetries, skin dimpling, or nipple inversion are all good reasons to get checked out — even if you recently had a normal mammogram, she said.
Skin irritation, nipple discharge, and breast pain can also be symptoms of cancer, Insider previously reported. Women have also told Insider how they first thought
She also said women like her, who have no family history of breast cancer, are still at risk — especially as they age. 85% of breast cancer diagnoses occur in women with no family history.
Nearly half of American women have dense breasts
In September, Katie Couric revealed her breast cancer diagnosis and also emphasized the importance of asking for a breast ultrasound in addition to a mammogram if you have dense breast tissue like her.
“Forty-five percent of women in this country (yes, nearly half) have dense breasts, which can make it difficult for mammograms alone to detect abnormalities,” she wrote on her website.
Couric, who underwent a lumpectomy and radiation, also said she was grateful to be diagnosed in 2022, when she could benefit from advances in breast cancer detection and treatment.
“But to reap the benefits of modern medicine, we need to stay on top of our screenings, advocate for ourselves, and make sure everyone has access to the diagnostic tools that could very well save their life,” she said.
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