A routine exam caught her breast cancer diagnosis early

A routine exam caught her breast cancer diagnosis early

Breast cancer is not new to 45-year-old Plymouth, Wisconsin, resident Jennifer Knauer. She has seen family members battle and overcome breast cancer and works with cancer experts every day as an Aurora Health Care cancer service line administrative assistant.

Knauer’s personal experience started in September 2023. She went in for her routine annual checkup with her primary care provider, where they talked about her family history and high risk for breast cancer.

As a result, her provider suggested she visit a high-risk breast cancer clinic as a preventive measure. There, Knauer completed genetic testing. This testing prompted heightened surveillance, and additional imaging and a biopsy led to a stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis.

“I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms, but with my family history, I wasn’t that surprised by the diagnosis,” says Knauer.

After nearly eight years of working with cancer experts every day, she is now on the other side of cancer care. She is currently preparing to have a double mastectomy followed by reconstruction surgery very soon.

Dr. Nicholas Gustafson, a medical oncologist at Aurora Health Care, is part of Knauer’s multidisciplinary care team.

“It’s critical to be proactive and stay on top of your health,” says Dr. Gustafson. “Getting routine mammograms, doing self-exams, and in Jennifer’s case, seeing your primary care provider regularly and discussing your family history are all important in maintaining breast health.”

Knauer is grateful for her regular checkup with her primary care provider that led to this life changing discovery. “If you have a family history, go get checked out,” encourages Knauer.

If you have any questions or concerns, see your primary care doctor.

Want to learn more about your risk for breast cancer? Take a free online quiz here.

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About the Author

Hannah Koerner
Hannah Koerner

Hannah Koerner is a Public Affairs Specialist with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. In her free time, she enjoys biking, snowshoeing, and cheering on Wisconsin sports teams.