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Las Cruces medical student becomes breast cancer ‘warrior’ at young age of 25

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- She's been many things in her 25 years on this Earth - a daughter, an excellent student, a figure skater,  a medical student, and now - a breast cancer warrior.  

Gina Gilderman was younger than most when diagnosed with breast cancer, and it all started when she felt a lump.

"You don't hear a lot about the women my age, 24 and 25, having breast cancer.  I never in a million years would have thought I'd have it.  Just beacase I was young and I thought I was kind of invincible, I guess," Gilderman says.

She says she dismissed the lump at first, admitting that wasn't the smartest idea.  When she finally did go to a doctor, she says she was not taken seriously.  She believes that doctor didn't order further testing because he, too, thought she was just too young.

After further tests (with a different provider) Gilderman got the dreaded news.  She had breast cancer.  The diagnosis came a week before her final medical board exam.  She says that was a rough week, but she made it through, and passed.  

Meanwhile, her friends at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in Las Cruces were busy, creating fundraisers and GoFundMe in her honor.

"My whole school got behind it and raised an incredible amount of money, and all that has been going to my medical bills," Gilderman says.  

Because chemotherapy treatments have suppressed her immune system, Gina is unable to start clinical rotations.  She's keeping busy, and hopes her final treatments are successful so she can undergo surgery by the end of the year.  She also wants to inspire young girls to do their breast self-exams and follow through on concerns with their doctors quickly.

"If you find something suspicious, go to your provider immediately and if they try to dismiss you, be adamant about getting tested...because you don't want to have it progress to a worse stage," she said.

Breast Cancer / New Mexico / Video

Hillary Floren

Hillary Floren co-anchors ABC-7’s Good Morning El Paso.

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