BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
You may recognize her voice, but these days you are seeing a lot more of local radio host Niki Reyes.
For the past few months Reyes and been very public about her battle with breast cancer on the Danny and Niki Morning show which she co-hosts on Kelly 95.3.
Last October Reyes told listeners about a promotion for $75 mammograms being offered at Kern Radiology in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"I've heard so many rumors about it, so I was going to find out what this mammogram thing is all about,” said Reyes.
Even though Reyes has no family history of breast cancer, the 32-year-old host made an appointment.
"I uploaded a video and said, ‘I just did my mammogram it was so easy, don't be afraid of it,’ I was literally walking to my car and one of the girls flagged me down,” said Reyes.
Reyes had further testing and a biopsy. A few days later she said she got the call that changed her life forever. Reyes was told she had stage 1 breast cancer.
“Your entire world just falls apart, it caves in, it collapses. You can't hear anything anymore you just heard cancer,” said Reyes.
Reyes’ diagnosis is part of a growing trend. More young women are being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study which collected data from 1973 to 2009 found the biggest increase was in women between the ages 25 to 34.
Dr. Ravi Patel, founder of Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, Medical Oncologist said the data may seem startling but women shouldn’t panic.
“It's important to remember that this study spans over a period of roughly 30 years, and in 30 years the incidence has gone up, but if we calculate the actual percentage it goes up by roughly one percent, said Patel. “It is an increase, but I don't think everybody should go crazy."
The study could not pinpoint a cause for the increase in breast cancer rates in young women, but Dr. Patel said it is important for women to do self-breast exams and live the right lifestyle.
“Don't be overweight, exercise regularly, cut down on your high animal fat intake and another very important thing is when you are young and you find out you have a family history of breast cancer explore that,” said Patel.
The National Cancer Institute recommends women 40 years and older to get a mammogram, unless Dr. Patel said a woman notices a change in her breast or has a family history.
Since Reyes’ diagnosis she made the decision to have a double mastectomy and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. The best news Reyes said, is her doctor told her that the cancer didn’t spread.
With a new appreciation for life, Reyes said she shares her story not to alarm women but to make them more aware.
"Creating dialogues with your teens, creating dialogues with each other, the fact that more women are talking about breast cancer I think, that alone is saving lives,” said Reyes.