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She survived breast cancer. Now, she's built an app to help folks conduct self-breast exams.

Breast cancer survivor Jessica Baladad created an app to help others detect the disease early. The app is called Feel For Your Life.

She survived breast cancer. Now, she's built an app to help folks conduct self-breast exams.
Image Source: FeelForYourLife / Facebook

Jessica Baladad had two breast cancer scares. One when she was 23 and another 10 years later, at age 33. Both times, it was a self-breast exam that helped her tackle cancer early. Now, aged 36, she has built an app to help other folks conduct their own breast exams on a regular basis. Baladad does not consider herself an expert app developer, but she hopes her passion for advocacy will help others out there. In the future, she plans to add an easy in-app telehealth option over and above continuing to develop the app. As of now, she is working on helping users download the app, News Channel 5 Nashville reports.


"I’m not an app developer," she said in an interview with the news outlet. "I’m just like a passionate advocate. Women aren’t learning how to do these [breast exams]." Her app, Feel For Your Life, is helping people figure out how to do them. It was a result of her own challenges with breast cancer. Baladad had her first scare with the illness when she was in college, at age 23. She shared, "I accidentally stumbled upon a lump in my breast, and it turned out to be a benign occurrence called a fibroadenoma. I had it surgically removed and it was that experience that put me in the habit of doing self-breast exams."


Ever since, Baladad has been regular with conducting her own breast exams. That is the reason she was able to detect cancer early when she experienced her second scare at 33 years old. "It was March of 2018," the app developer revealed. "I skipped my self-breast exam because I had an appointment with my practitioner that month. I went and saw her, she examined my breasts, and didn’t say anything to me about a lump."


Two weeks later, it was about time to conduct another self-breast exam. She stated, "It was time, it was part of my routine to check my breasts at that time and I thought, ‘Should I really do an exam?’ And I thought, ‘Yeah, I should stay in the habit.’ And sure enough, I found a lump on my left side." Following several visits to different doctors, Baladad was told she indeed had breast cancer. Over the next three years, she went through 16 rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy, 24 rounds of radiation, as well as a hysterectomy. She still has one surgery left, breast reconstruction, due to delays caused by the pandemic.


While waiting for her upcoming surgery, Baladad decided to put her time and energy to good use. She said, "One in eight women statistically are, you know, they get breast cancer... But if it’s caught early, you know, you have options. I just want women’s breast health to be taken a little more seriously and that some of the stigma be taken away from it. Women talk about their menstrual cycles, but we don’t really talk so much about you know our breast health so much. I wanted women to be able to track and monitor their progress through their exams, and I wanted them to be able to set reminders so that they knew when to do their self-breast exams." Thus, she developed Feel For Your Life. You can download the app via the App Store or the Google Play Store.

Author's Note: All people can contract breast cancer. Although it is rare, men too can get breast cancer (as can anyone else on the gender spectrum). The Centers for Disease Control estimates about one out of every 100 breast cancer patients diagnosed in the United States is a man. It is recommended that all folks conduct self-breast exams.


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