Greensboro, NC -- When you hear about women battling breast cancer, they're often middle-aged, diagnosed after a mammogram. That's what 24-year-old Meleshia Daye thought too, until she was diagnosed.
Daye, who is now being treated for stage four breast cancer, said she is sharing her story so other young woman know why those self breast exams are so important.
Daye had no family history of breast cancer and no other symptoms, but she had lumps.
"Last year in June, I found a lump in my left breast. The lump was probably about the size of a grape," she said.
Daye went to the doctor with her mother. They went back a few months later and even again shortly after that. Each time, they were assured it was only a cyst, which would go away.
"She said your daughter is too young to have breast cancer. It's not common in women who are in their 20s, so we don't feel that she needs a biopsy," said Daye.
About a a year later, that one lump had turned into three and she finally had a biopsy.
"When she said, you have breast cancer, I looked at my mom, she was sitting on my left side, and I looked at my fiancé, he was sitting on my right side, and I was like...I mean, I've been carrying this for a year! And the only thing that you tell me is that I'm too young? What do you tell me now?" she said.
Daye said she felt like her life was about to end.
"I have kids at home, I have a job, where am I supposed to go from here? I said, how long do I have?" Daye said.
She began chemotherapy treatments. At 24, losing her hair wasn't the only tough part.
"It's basically me going through menopause at 24. I have hot flashes at night. I wake up in cold sweats. I mean, it's a process," she said.
Daye has now fast-forwarded a lot of things in life, like her wedding, which is next month.
"It was supposed to be next year, but I wanted to feel like a woman in my dress, and have my breasts and everything. I wanted to feel whole," she said.
Daye will have a masectomy in December or January.
The cancer has also spread to her liver. However, her doctors said all of the tumors are responding well to the treatment.
Daye said with faith and the support of family and friends, she believes she'll make it. However, she wants to make sure other women do too.
"I'm going to get this story out there. I want somebody to hear it because it's not just in older women. It's in younger women too," she said.
WFMY News 2