Sometimes there are more important things than bike racing. BrittLee Bowman recently learned that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer toward the end of last cyclocross season.

At the time, Bowman was racing a full cyclocross schedule with the Richard Sachs team, and with the illness, she faced the choice of having a double mastectomy to help prevent the cancer from recurring.

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This one is tough. I was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks ago. There, I said it. I have breast cancer. I have CANCER. This is insane. Ahhhhhgrrrrraaaaghhhhh!!!!! I’ve yelled, I’ve cried, I’ve felt the bottom of the deepest pit in my stomach, I’ve been sad beyond sad, I’ve been devastated, I’ve been confused, I’ve been angry, I’ve been afraid. But in this whirlwind I’ve somehow moved through so much in these few short weeks and am now making some sense of things; feeling the amazing love of my family and close friends, finding support in my team of health care providers (doctors, therapist, meditation and reiki practitioners etc) as well as fellow breast cancer affected women. I feel the love. I know I can do this. I just didn’t expect to have to. . ————. I found a lump in my breast in October. Made a doc apt. Had ultrasound and mammo early November. They saw two lumps, both about the size of a green pea in my left breast. Biopsy happened just before Thanksgiving, results and diagnosis came just after. . I have invasive ductal carcinoma. ER+, PR+, HER2-, appears to be stage 1 but will be confirmed after surgery. . An MRI last week showed some additional abnormal cells in front and behind the two lumps. The cancer needs to be surgically removed. My surgery date is a week from today. 🤯🤯🤯 I am still working through my decisions for surgery. . I will find out if I need chemo after the surgery. . I do not have the BRCA gene (this would have doubled the chance of more breast cancer). . This is all very personal but I am sharing it here because seeing other young women sharing their stories has already helped me so much. (Fewer than 5 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. are younger than 40).

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Bowman recently spoke with NPR about her experience and her decision about which type of surgery to have.

For more on her story, NPR’s Bradley Campbell also did a write-up.

Featured image: Dan Chabanov