Survivor Stories

Jennifer's Cancer Journey

“ Get your mammograms. That’s the thing, early detection makes a huge difference ”

Jennifer

My name is Jennifer Mills Messina and I am an Obstetrician-Gynecologist at Touro. I feel like Dr. Daniel Rupley, the Radiologist at Touro, saved my life. He had wanted me to come in every six months to get a mammogram, not because he saw something suspicious, but because he knew I had dense breasts and he didn’t want to miss anything. In December of 2017, I went in for a mammogram and they found the cancer when it was so tiny you couldn’t even feel it. It was Stage 1 and wasn’t in my lymph nodes and it was all because of Dr. Rupley. It’s so crazy because it’s not in my family, my genetics tests came back negative, it’s like why did this happen?

I was so blessed because since we found it so early, I didn’t have to do chemo or radiation. I didn’t want to ever have to worry about the cancer coming back, so I had a double mastectomy.

My husband is amazing. He has been involved with the American Cancer Society for years and he’s part of their Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. I knew I wanted to do something to support the cancer society, but I just kept asking ‘What can I do?’ We have started fundraising with the goal of raising $40,000 for the American Cancer Society.

I’m more than a survivor, I am a loving wife. To tell you the truth, I always felt guilty for calling myself a survivor because I didn’t have to go through the chemo, and I didn’t have to go through the radiation. But I tell you, all of that has kind of changed a little bit recently.

Since becoming cancer-free, I’ve become an advocate for breast cancer awareness and preventative care. Get your mammograms. That’s the thing, early detection makes a huge difference