In 2016, NBC News correspondent Kristen Dahlgren reported on unusual signs of breast cancer that aren’t widely known. Three years later, she spotted one of them in herself, and learned that she has stage 2 breast cancer.
While the majority of women identify their breast cancer based on a lump, Dahlgren was reporting on a new study that found that other signs — nipple changes, dents, dimples, pain or redness — could also be indicators of breast cancer.
Dahlgren, 47, said she admittedly was not worrying about breast cancer earlier this year.
“Breast cancer was the last thing on my mind,” she said on Wednesday’s episode of Today. “I’m in my forties, I’m active, we don’t really have a family history, and most importantly, I just had a screening mammogram that was negative back in April.”
But as she got dressed one day in September, Dahlgren noticed that she had a “slight dent” in her right breast — one of the unusual signs from her 2016 story.
“Beneath the dent, I didn’t feel a lump, but something I might describe as a ‘thickening,’ ” she explained. “It just felt different than everywhere else.”
“I remember at the time thinking, ‘This story is going to save lives,’ and I just had no idea that the life it would save would be mine.”— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 11, 2019
Our @kristendahlgren credits a story she did for @NBCNews with saving her life and helped her find a subtle sign of breast cancer. pic.twitter.com/X9Yjz2io2h
After going in for a mammogram, Dahlgren learned that she has stage 2 breast cancer.
“I remember thinking at the time, this story is going to save lives. And I just had no idea that the life it would save would be mine,” she said.
Dahlgren is now in treatment for her cancer, and going through days filled with chemotherapy and doctors appointments.
“It’s like a kick in the gut,” she said. “I have a 3-year-old, I have a lot to live for, and it’s been definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. It’s scary. It’s really scary.”
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But overall, she told the Today hosts, she’s “feeling well.”
“I have a long road ahead,” she said. “I’m still in chemotherapy and that hasn’t been easy, I’m tired and I have some other side effects and then I have surgeries coming up, so it’s a long road but I have the best doctors in the world, they’re very optimistic and so am I.”
Dahlgren said she’s typically a “super private person,” but felt that it was important for her to share her story.
“My thinking is, if that story saved my life, then maybe it can save someone else’s,” she said. “And if someone sees this and notices a change in their breast and goes and gets it checked out, if one person is saved by that, then that makes it worth it to share my struggle.”