In late September 2017, Ginger Connor was enjoying a family vacation at the beach when she felt a lump in her left breast. At the age of 48, Connor had been doing self-breast exams regularly for years and she immediately realized this was something new.
When she returned from vacation to her job as a mammography technologist at Duke Women’s Cancer Center Raleigh, Connor underwent a biopsy, followed by a breast MRI the next day. When that identified two additional areas of concern, the next steps included an ultrasound and more biopsies. On October 6, Connor received the diagnosis she had already feared: breast cancer.
Connor’s breast cancer was identified as invasive ductal carcinoma, present in two different quadrants of her breast. On October 23, 2017 – during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and less than a month after discovering the lump – Connor had a double mastectomy. It was undoubtedly the most life-changing month of her life, but not without a few good memories. In addition to treasured family portraits taken during that beach vacation, Connor also enjoyed the Bruno Mars concert that she had waited more than a year to attend.
Having both breasts removed when cancer was only present in one was a very personal decision for Connor, but it was one she had made even before her diagnosis.
“Having worked in the mammography field for more than 20 years, I already knew what I’d do if it ever happened to me,” Connor explained.
Knowing that additional surgery would be required on the other breast as part of reconstruction down the road, as well as believing that it could potentially lower her risk of developing new cancer, made a double mastectomy the right choice for her.