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10/17/2014 05:00 pm ET

A Breast Cancer Diagnosis Turned This Oncologist Into A Patient

Friday marks National Mammogram Day, a day that reminds us to be proactive with our health. The necessity of regular check-ups is personified in Dr. Carol Scott Conner, who went from being a breast cancer surgeon to a breast cancer patient.

In February 2013, Conner went in for a routine mammogram and walked out with news that made her feel like "the walls were closing in around" her, she explained to HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd.

Even though Conner knew breast cancer was common in people her age and with her family history, she "still wasn't expecting" her diagnosis. Yet after looking at the ultrasound that revealed a lump, she used her own medical expertise to confirm she had cancer.

"I could see that it had all of the characteristics that are small but definite breast cancer," Conner said. "I could feel the ultrasound poke sliding over a lump that I hadn't known was there."

Conner said that while "every person's experience is unique," her experience of having cancer helps her "build empathy" for other patients.

Watch the full segment on mammograms, breast cancer and mental health here.

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