Jon Gosselin’s girlfriend has revealed she has breast cancer.
On Sunday, Colleen Conrad broke the news in an Instagram post that featured photos of her chronicling her experience.
“I have been putting this off and debated even posting…I went for a mammogram on 4/15. I had put it off for almost 2 1/2 yrs due to lack of time and Covid and later got a call that a mass was found in my right breast,” she wrote.
“Everything after that happened so fast. Then on 4/21, I got the call that is confirmed it was cancer. Stage 2, triple-negative breast cancer. I was BRCA1 and 2 negative. Everything seemed so surreal.”
Conrad wrote that she underwent a pair of surgeries, including one breast reconstruction.
“I had a single mastectomy done on my right breast on 7/14/21 followed by a DIEP Flap procedure on 7/30/21 and I feel good,” she wrote. “The DIEP flap was a personal choice for me. I am very happy with the outcome but I also had amazing surgeons at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.”
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Conrad also wrote that the cancer had not spread.
“After my surgery I found it had not spread to the nodes, thank God, and they were able to downgrade to stage 1,” she wrote. “I’m still waiting on the Oncotype number to see if I need chemo. If less than 25 I won’t.”
Conrad also recalled the first time she felt something may be wrong.
“I think the first time it hit me and felt real is when I felt the lump myself in the shower,” she wrote. “That was the first time I broke down and cried. I had not been doing monthly self-breast exams like I should have."
"The reason I decided to post this was that I was lucky that it was caught early. And to remind everyone not to put off your mammograms and do your monthly breast exams. Set a monthly alarm if needed. Even men, who can also get breast cancer. Early detection will make the world of difference and give you a better fighting chance.”
Conrad did not mention Gosselin in her post, but she did thank her two children and her sister.
A 2020 survey by Breastcancer.org found that 11% of women postponed their mammograms because of the pandemic. Most doctors recommend women begin mammogram screenings at age 40, though every individual is different and one should discuss options with their health care provider.
"Routine screening for breast cancer, including an annual mammogram, is our best chance at saving lives through early detection," Dr. Marisa Weiss, chief medical officer and founder of Breastcancer.org, told TODAY last summer. "The National Cancer Institute estimates that COVID-19 disruptions in cancer screening, including routine mammograms, could lead to thousands of additional deaths over the next decade."
Norman "Ned" Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, said there will be 10,000 more deaths from breast cancer and colorectal cancer over the next decade.
"There can be no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing delayed diagnosis and suboptimal care for people with cancer," Sharpless wrote in an editorial published last June in the journal Science.
"Cancers being missed now will still come to light eventually, but at a later stage and with worse prognoses."
No matter your age, there are a few key things you can do to minimize the risk of developing breast cancer. Most importantly is getting to know your breasts, and speaking to a health care professional if something seems different.