NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren Reveals The Unusual Breast Cancer Symptom

May 12, 2020

When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is key. For now, getting regular mammograms, seeing your doctor, educating yourself about the symptoms of breast cancer, and self-examinations are the most effective ways to detect breast cancer early.

But while a lump is the most common breast cancer symptom, there are several others that every woman should be aware of – and NBC News correspondent Kristen Dahlgren wants women to be aware of them, as this information also helped her get diagnosed with breast cancer herself.

Dahlgren is currently battling stage 2 breast cancer, and in a new article for Today, the 47-year-old shares her story of diagnosis, revealing that her breast cancer manifested itself as a rather unusual symptom: a dent in her right breast.

“I remember thinking, ‘This story will save lives,’ only I didn’t know the lives it would save would be mine.”

Our @kristendahlgren credits a story she did for @NBCNews with saving her life and helping her find the subtle signs of breast cancer. pic.twitter.com/X9Yjz2io2h.

– TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 11, 2019.
In the article, Dahlgren explains that in 2016 she was sent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to cover a story about a woman who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer because she noticed subtle changes in her breasts. She explained that a study from the United Kingdom found that while a lump is the most common symptom of breast cancer, about one-sixth of women diagnosed experience other symptoms, including nipple changes, depressions, bumps, pain or redness.

“It’s very important to know your breasts,” Dr. Deborah Rhodes, an internist at Mayo Breast Diagnostic Clinic, told her at the time.

“I remember thinking this story would save lives,” Dahlgren wrote.” Little did I know that the lives it would save would be my own.”

In April 2019, Dahlgren, who had no family history of breast cancer, underwent a mammogram, which came back negative. However, at the end of July, on her 47th birthday, she noticed a slight depression in her right breast.

“I’d never noticed it before. I’m not good at regular self-exams, but this time I noticed it,” she wrote.” Underneath the dent, I didn’t feel a lump, but I could describe it as something ‘thickened’. It just felt different than the rest of the area. I know I need to get it checked out, but life has gotten busy.”

A few days later, she had a breast screening at a local hospital in North Carolina, where she underwent a mammogram and ultrasound.

“Within a few days, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer,” she continues.

“Since then, my life has been filled with doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy, and yes, tears. In my darkest moments, I asked, ‘Why?'” Though I try not to dwell on it. I have too much to do.”

While she explained that it’s “not easy to talk about,” she felt it was important to share her story because “knowledge is powerful” and that if she didn’t cover breast cancer stories, she might ignore breast changes and “might think a mammogram will find cancer.”

She also noted that for women like her with dense breast tissue, mammograms are only “87% effective and have low sensitivity.” I probably won’t be getting a mammogram for a while,” she notes.” I hate to admit it, but I’ve let years go by between screenings in the past.”

During a recent visit to the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Rhodes shared some important information with her. She explained, “In almost every case of a patient who finds out about her breast cancer, she tells me a similar story…” I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, but when I notice it, I know it’s important’.” .

According to Dr. Rhodes, these symptoms to look out for include changes in breast contour, depressions, any discharge, redness, itching and swelling.

Dahlgren concludes her important article with a positive outlook for her future.” I’m doing great,” she writes.” I have amazing and optimistic doctors and more support than I know what to do with. I have a friend who is a breast cancer survivor herself, and she goes with me to every chemo treatment. My parents drive 10 hours every other week to help, and my husband has been my absolute rock.”

“I end 2019 with gratitude, I know there is a long road ahead, but I hope that sharing my story may make a difference to others.”