Local warns women through experience

Published 12:01am Monday, January 13, 2014

NATCHEZ — When Katrina Jackson began carrying her cell phone in her bra nearly 10 years ago, she never imagined it could lead to the most earth-shattering phone call of her life.

Jackson’s husband, Greg, was still in the hospital recovering from a hay baler accident that claimed his left hand in October 2012 when Jackson felt a small lump in her left breast while giving herself a self breast examination.

Jackson made an appointment to have the lump checked out when Greg got out of the hospital. By January, the lump had grown into the size of a golf ball.

Katrina Jackson was diagnosed with breast cancer Jan. 15, 2013, after years of carrying her cell phone in her bra. Jackson completed chemotherapy in late May of the same year. The lump she found was located in the exact spot where she kept her cell phone. There is currently no conclusive research between carrying a cell phone in a bra and breast cancer. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)
Katrina Jackson was diagnosed with breast cancer Jan. 15, 2013, after years of carrying her cell phone in her bra. Jackson completed chemotherapy in late May of the same year. The lump she found was located in the exact spot where she kept her cell phone. There is currently no conclusive research between carrying a cell phone in a bra and breast cancer. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

After a few tests and a biopsy, Jackson got a call from her doctor telling her she had invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common invasive breast cancer.

“My world ended right there,” Jackson said. “I thought the worst day for me and my family was the day (Greg) got his hand amputated, but the worst day in the world was the day I got that phone call.”

The cancerous lump is in the exact location Jackson had placed her cell phone in her bra for years. Jackson’s surgeon told her it is possible that years of tucking her cell phone in her bra could be linked to her cancer.

“It’s very convenient to carry your cell phone in your bra,” Jackson said. “It was the most convenient place for me (because) I didn’t like carrying a purse. If I was going to the grocery story or going out, I would just put my money … and my phone in my bra.”

Jackson had a double mastectomy and is now left with the scars of what she said is a risk women should not take.

“If I could do it all over again … It’s not worth it,” Jackson said, shaking her head. “It’s very convenient, but the price I paid is great.”

Jackson said she was initially skeptical of the link between cell phone radiation and cancer.

“I would hear stories about it, and I would just think, ‘No way could that be from a cell phone,’” she said.

With no breast cancer in her family and the location of her cancer in the same spot she carried her phone, Jackson cannot come up with another explanation for her cancer.

Research on the link between a woman carrying a cell phone in her bra and cancer is limited, but Jackson said the convenience is not worth it.

Jackson finished chemotherapy in May and is seeing her doctor every three months for checkups.

“I have four more years until I can say I’m officially cancer free,” she said.

For now, Jackson said she uses her cell phone as little as possible and does not carry it anywhere but her purse.

Jackson, Greg and their children, Jacquelyn, 19, Greg Jr., 17, both University of Southern Mississippi students, and Victoria, 14, a student at Morgantown Middle, are taking it one day at a time, Greg said.

The family is grateful for the support of friends who have helped them through a rough year.

“I’m thankful she’s a lot better,” Greg said. “And by the grace of God, we’re getting through it. I’m just waiting for that day when I can say she is cancer free.”

Mexican