MEDFORD, Ore. -- A Rogue Valley family started to become breast cancer aware after discovering commonalities in breast health among the women of the family.
Ashlee Clayton and her mother Annette Clayton each went through their unique breast cancer journeys while trying to run their family business, Rooster's Restaurant in Medford.
In 2014, Ashlee Clayton says she lost her grandmother to breast cancer. It was only 13 months later that Ashlee's mother, Annette, was diagnosed with breast cancer as well.
"I did genetic testing, I met with Kate Nugaurd who is the oncology nurse navigator at Providence and she did a bunch of different graphs with me and discussions. We found out my best option was to do a preventative double mastectomy."
Ashlee says knowing her family history, breast cancer awareness was a constant conservation among she and her relatives. It wasn't until she was 31-years-old that she found a lump and decided to begin having conversations with an oncologist.
Ashlee says she did not test positive for the BRCA mutation. However, she learned that her family history and environmental factors could increase her chance of developing breast cancer.
She says, to this day, she continues to do self-checks because getting breast cancer is still a possibility.
"They contribute how you grew up, where you grew up, where your parents grew up, and they look at a lot of those different things."
Ashlee says she was thankful to learn that the lump she found was benign, but making that decision to remove her breasts was hard. Now wants to empower her daughters with information to help them make decisions on their own breast health when they become 18.
From her mother's experience, she says that she realizes it could have been much worse.
Annette Clayton's procedure involved taking muscle from her back to be used for her reconstructive surgery.
Nearly 6 years in remission, Clayton says the healing process is constant, and recovering from the mental toll is an entirely different process.
She tells Newswatch 12 she hopes to begin seeing a therapist soon and encourages other people in her position to do the same,