How finding her lump at 27 helped her love her body

This year, we had the opportunity to partner with True&Co on their True Body Front Closure + Bra which was inspired by and designed specifically with survivors in mind. Through this partnership, we have been able to speak and connect with some truly incredible survivors, like Anna Crollman, aka My Cancer Chic

After being diagnosed at just 27, Ana struggled to find information relevant to her. So, she created her own. My Cancer Chic is unique lifestyle and wellness blog, where she touches on everything from fashion to treatment, for survivors and loved ones, creating a space full of breast cancer resources for everyone. 

Get to know more about Anna below!

When was your diagnosis and how old were you?

I was diagnosed with Stage IIB Breast Cancer at age 27 with no family history of premenopausal breast cancer.

How did you find out you had breast cancer?

I was showering and noticed a lump in my breast that felt abnormal. I was not in the habit of completing self-checks, but something immediately frightened me about this lump.

Who was the first person you confided in about your illness?

I immediately told my husband about the lump and texted a close friend who had recently gone through a fibroadenoma/cancer scare. After officially receiving the diagnosis news by phone while in Mexico with my girlfriends, I called my husband and burst into tears. I barely remember the words I uttered or making it through the call. Next, I called my mom and then walked back to the resort buffet room to find my two girlfriends. They immediately knew by the look on my face the news was not what we had hoped for.

Tell us something about yourself that people probably don’t know?

I was homeschooled until the middle of 5th grade and grew up in remote Western North Carolina with a lot of outdoor education and nature.

After your treatment, what do you now make time for in your day?

I make more time for relaxation and self-care. Before I was go, go, go all the time and never took time to slow down and reflect. Now I see self-care as much more of a priority in my life.

What advice would you give to someone recently diagnosed?

You are not alone. You may be overwhelmed and terrified, but there is a community of supportive women and organizations to support and guide you through this scary process. The other important thing to know is that there is light on the other side. It may not seem like it now but you will experience joy and happiness again, and cancer will fade into the background of your life with time.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

Stop worrying about what other people think and be and do what makes you feel good. If someone doesn’t like what you’re doing or what you stand for, you don’t need them in your life. Surround yourself with strong, supportive and inspirational people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

What was the toughest challenge you faced?

The toughest challenge I have faced is losing friends to this deadly disease while I get to live on. Each day I struggle to refocus and reflect on my life in a way that shows gratitude and honors those I have lost.

When do you laugh the most?

My husband’s immature humor and our inside jokes.

If you could go back in time to any event, what would it be?

Walking the runway at NYFW with Ana Ono X Cancerland

If you could travel anywhere where would it be and why?

Bali. I absolutely love the relaxation and beauty of a tropical vacation. I dream of traveling there someday, unplugging from reality and internet and being in the moment with my husband and hopefully our future children.

What made you interested in True&Co.?

Their passion for survivors and a focus on comfort.

How would you describe your comfort in the True Body + Front Closure Bra and how does it compare to other bras in its category?

I spent the majority of the last 30 years dwelling on my imperfections and hating my body. Cancer woke me up, and I finally learned how to see my body as an amazing source of strength and beauty. Many post-surgery bras made me feel the exact opposite: medical, weak and ugly. Bras like this one from True&Co. help me feel good in my skin and physically comfortable following my surgery.

…there is light on the other side. It may not seem like it now but you will experience joy and happiness again, and cancer will fade into the background of your life with time. – Anna Crollman

Download our Check Yourself! app on the Apple App Store or Google Play to learn to do a breast self-check & set up an automatic monthly reminder. Early detection is the key.