Kelsey De Sousa, a 31-year-old woman and mother of three from Angus, Ont., First discovered a small lump in her breast end of 2020.
After the lump had not changed or disappeared, she contacted her doctor, who arranged for an ultrasound and a mammogram at Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston, Ont.
But when Kelsey went to the hospital, the staff only performed the ultrasound, which initially found the bump to be a cyst. Kelsey was told to come back for a follow-up within four to six months.
“They didn’t have the mammogram because of her age,” Tyler De Sousa, Kelsey’s husband, told Global News. “They said, ‘You don’t have to do a mammogram because you’re only 31.’ ”
In a statement to Global News, a Stevenson Memorial Hospital spokesperson said that radiologists do not recommend mammograms for people under 35 due to safety concerns associated with radiation exposure.
“If an ultrasound has been performed and there is no cause for concern about the results, it is not common for a mammogram to be taken,” said hospital spokesman Rachael Ogorek.
“In some cases, a patient may be asked to come back for a repeat ultrasound for follow-up in three to six months.”
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In March, Kelsey noticed that the lump in her breast had quadrupled. She called the hospital to have her follow-up ultrasound rescheduled, which she could do.
“Right when I was there, the ultrasound technician called the radiologist and they were able to arrange a mammogram for me,” Kelsey said.
“The report from that was that the findings were alarming, so then my doctor referred me to a breast clinic in Southlake, and they biopsied me, and it was confirmed that it was breast cancer.”
When Kelsey was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer at the Southlake Regional Health Center clinic in Newmarket on April 9, she said she and Tyler were shocked.
“They called me the day before and told me to bring my husband,” she said. ‘I thought that was weird, but then again, my thoughts didn’t even turn to cancer, to be honest. And then we walked into the room, and there was nothing but breast cancer stuff on the walls, and there was already a bag of pamphlets… so then it really hit us. “
Since her diagnosis, Kelsey has had an MRI, a bone scan, a CT scan, an echocardiogram, some more ultrasounds, and three biopsies. Her cancer has since spread to her lymph nodes under her armpit and on her left side.
Kelsey had her first course of chemotherapy last Friday, which she thinks was tough.
“It took me a few hours to start and then I was very nauseous, very dizzy, lightheaded,” said Kelsey. “I had some stomach ache, and I had a lot of tingling and pressure in all my limbs.”
When Kelsey found the lump in her breast, she said she had no other noticeable cancer symptoms. She said she has a family history of cancer on her father’s side, and doctors are currently running tests to see if her breast cancer is genetic.
“I’m a hairstylist, so I work at our place,” said Kelsey. “With COVID I was shut down at least four times this year, so I can’t work now, and now I can’t risk getting sick either.”
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Tyler also runs his own business as a general contractor, but he is currently unable to work full-time due to non-essential construction shutdown in Ontario and stress over Kelsey’s diagnosis.
“I have to be super careful because I can’t bring anything back to her,” he said. “We have three kids that we have to take care of at the same time, so it’s been crazy so far.”
Kelsey and Tyler have not yet received their COVID-19 vaccines. They hoped they would be ready before Kelsey started chemotherapy, but they now have to wait a few months for the treatment to be completed.
Kelsey and Tyler’s sister-in-law, Nicole Phillips De Sousa, founded one GoFundMe page to support the family in alleviating the financial pressure resulting from the diagnosis. At the time of writing this story, the fundraiser has raised nearly $ 50,000.
Kelsey and Tyler also said the Angus community was running an auction to raise money for their families.
“We’re out of words – we’re just so grateful,” said Kelsey. “I never dreamed that my story would have affected people like that.”
Tyler said what started as a nightmare turned into a dream of incredible support from his and Kelsey’s community, friends and family.
“It’s been such an emotional rollercoaster, from the very beginning until now, and I’m just going to fight this with everything I have,” said Kelsey.
“It’s going to be tough, but I’ll look back on it, and we’ll get through it. We’ll be fine. “
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