RAISING AWARENESS: young Moose Lake woman shares message of hope amid breast cancer battle

RAISING AWARENESS: young Moose Lake woman shares message of hope amid breast cancer battle
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 8:56 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2022 at 12:01 AM CDT
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MOOSE LAKE, MN. (Northern News Now) - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women in the U.S. will battle breast cancer in their lifetime.

On average, every two minutes a woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with the disease, and there are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the country.

Chardae Wilson is a young woman in Moose Lake who’s spent the past year battling the disease.

About a year ago, the now 28-year-old noticed some changes to her body.

“I knew when I found that lump, I knew something was not right,” Wilson said.

Then came that terrifying word from her doctor.

“So it was stage three breast and lymph node cancer,” Wilson said.

Since then, she’s endured chemo, a double mastectomy, radiation, and more.

But Wilson is thankful she pushed her doctors to perform an MRI a year ago.

“You are your biggest advocator and if I hadn’t, who knows where I would have been,” Wilson said.

Dr. Jill Holsinger is a radiologist with Essentia’s Breast Center.

“The recommendation from the American College of Radiology is that women starting at the age of 20 should have a clinical breast exam,” Holsinger said.

Though breast cancer in younger women can be rare, Holsinger said it’s important to screen for symptoms.

“Sometimes breast cancers especially in younger women are going to show up as a patch of pink skin or maybe puckering,” Holsinger said.

For Wilson, her cancer has caused many non-health-related challenges too.

Wilson had to move three times in the past year, but through all that change, she’s had a loyal companion at her side.

“So this is my dog, Stella. She’s been with me since the very beginning.,” Wilson said. “She’s the one who gets me out of the bed in the morning when I don’t want to.”

In addition to Stella, Wilson said her family has been amazing helping her along the way.

And all that support is paying off. She’s now in remission.

“We’re assuming right now I’m completely cancer-free,” Wilson said.

She said she’ll continue with chemo for a few months and test long-term.

“I feel like right now, I’m in the most clean slate I’ve had since just becoming an adult,” Wilson said.

According to Wilson, through the treatment process, she’s found many resources to help pay for her massive medical costs, including a state insurance plan, especially for people with cancer.