By Steve Blanchard - April 08, 2022
Clea Shearer, an expert organizer and one of the stars of Netflix’s “Get Organized with The Home Edit,” has an aggressive form of breast cancer, she announced this month. She shared news of her invasive mammary carcinoma on Instagram.
She said that she found a lump in late February and had a double mastectomy April 8. After surgery doctors discovered she had stage 2 breast cancer and a positive lymph node, which means she will also undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
“I had to request a mammogram from my general doctor, which led to an ultrasound, and then an emergency triple biopsy,” she wrote. “I have two tumors ... that are aggressive and fast moving - but I caught it early. Had I not taken this upon myself, I would be in a completely different situation right now.”
According to Moffitt Cancer Center physicians, women with an average risk of breast cancer should begin screening at age 40, undergoing a mammogram on both breasts every year.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get screened earlier.
Dr. Bethany Niell, section chief of Breast Imaging at Moffitt, suggests women discuss their breast cancer risk factors with their doctor before the age of 30.
"Most patients who develop breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer, so it’s important to discuss all of your risk factors with your medical provider."- Dr. Bethany Niell, Breast Imaging
“Most patients who develop breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer, so it’s important to discuss all of your risk factors with your medical provider,” Niell said
Women with an increased risk of developing breast cancer may need to begin screening as early as age 25, Niell added.
“Some high-risk women may benefit from screening with mammography and breast MRI every year,” Niell said.
About 1 in 11 breast cancers in the U.S. are diagnosed in women under the age of 45 and nearly 1 in 6 breast cancers are found in women between ages 40-49. Niell says figures like those are why Moffitt recommends women receive a screening mammogram every year beginning at 40.
Shearer encouraged others to regularly perform self-examinations and prioritize their health, noting that the tumors formed before she turned 40 and without a family history of breast cancer.
“Even if cancer feels improbable, it’s still very possible,” she wrote.
HOW TO PERFORM A BREAST SELF-EXAM
- Perform a visual inspection. Look for swelling, redness, dimpling, puckering, pitting and nipple inversion.
- Perform a manual inspection standing up. Using the pads of your three middle fingers, press on every part of your breast and underarm area.
- Perform a manual inspection lying down. Use the same technique above with a pillow under your shoulder and your hand behind your head.
Self-examinations are often the first step to detecting breast cancer and regardless of age, if you feel a new lump, talk with your doctor. New lumps, including those in younger women, often require further evaluation with an ultrasound or mammogram.
Approximately 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. When it is found early, the prognosis is usually good with appropriate treatment. One of the first lines of defense in the fight against breast cancer is a screening mammogram.
That’s one more reason why Shearer has gone public with her cancer diagnosis.
Shearer and business partner Joanna Teplin founded their popular organizing business, The Home Edit, in 2015.
“Get Organized with The Home Edit,” a celebrity home organizational show, debuted on Netflix in 2020, featuring stars like Drew Barrymore and Chris Pratt. It has quickly become a hit on the platform, even launching a line of home organization tools with Walmart this year.