SHREVEPORT, La. - Fewer than 5 percent of women under 40 years old are ever diagnosed with breast cancer. Siobhann Shaver was 33.
A busy wife and mother of three young girls, she almost ignored a knot on her breast that felt tender to the touch. She thought it was a fibrocystic lump -- a very common occurrence in women that usually goes away after a few days.
Almost three months passed and Shaver still felt tenderness near the top of her right breast. Breast cancer at her age is rare.
Out of an abundance of caution, she agreed to do an ultra sound. When a suspicious area was spotted, she did a mammogram.
By the end of that, "I needed to do a biopsy," Shaver said.
The two-week wait for the test result was agonizing. Doctors confirmed it was stage one breast cancer.
"I had three knots and it wasn't in my lymph-nodes," Shaver said.
With no family history of breast cancer, she couldn't believe it because she felt like she was in her best health ever.
“I didn't have any indication, especially being young. You don't get breast cancer until your late 60's, you know, just layman thought," Shaver said.
Breast cancer surgeon Dr. Julie Broadwell walked Shaver through the process.
"Lots more emotions goes into a conversation about cancer than some other diagnosis," Broadwell said.
What went through Shaver's mind when she heard the word cancer? “Nothing, and you just kind of shut down. Of course, I'm a mom of three so you can't shut down."
Her children are ages 12, 10 and 8.
"It's too hard to explain to a kid when you don't have any answers as to what's going to happen from here," Shaver said.
There were major decisions to make for treatment. Because she caught it early, Broadwell said Shaver had options.
"If it's contained in the breast it's typically a stage one or stage two which makes a better prognosis, which means we can possibly avoid chemotherapy. There are lots more options there," Broadwell said.
The young mother decided to get a double mastectomy.
"I opted not to do the chemo. For me it was more quality over quantity. And I just take Tamoxifen every day - every day I can," Shaver said.
It was her initial decision to talk to her doctor about the small, tender knot that she thought would just go away that truly made all the difference.
"No matter what your age is, no matter what your family history is, get it checked," Shaver said.
It's been about two years since Shaver’s surgery. While she'll be monitored for re-occurrence forever, today she's celebrating another birthday ... cancer free.