Breast Cancer Survivor Creates App to Help Women Self-Conduct Breast Exams
After surviving a battle with breast cancer, 36-year-old Jessica Baladad became passionate about educating women on how to conduct self-breast exams. In her downtime during the pandemic, she created the app “Feel For Your Life” to help women conduct breast exams from home.
“I’m not an app developer. I’m just like a passionate advocate,” Baladad told News Channel 5 in Nashville. “Women aren’t learning how to do these [breast exams].”
Baladad had her first scare with breast cancer when she was in college. “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,” she said.
About ten years later, when Baladad was 33 years old, she had another scare. “It was March of 2018. I skipped my self-breast exam because I had an appointment with my practitioner that month,” she recalled. “I went and saw her, she examined my breasts, and didn’t say anything to me about a lump.”
Two weeks later, Baladad said, “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.”
After several doctors visits, her worst fear was confirmed: she had breast cancer.
For the next three years, she went through 16 rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy, 24 rounds of radiation and a hysterectomy. She now has one more surgery to go to reconstruct her breasts — the original surgery was delayed due to the pandemic.
Instead of sulking while waiting for the next surgery, Baladad put her energy to good use. “One in eight women statistically are, you know, they get breast cancer… but if it’s caught early, you know, you have options,” she explained. So, she created her app Feel For Your Life.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
Baladad said she hopes to continue to develop the app and add an easy in-app telehealth option in the future. For now, her focus is helping women sign up.
Image source: News Channel 5 Nashville