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October 2020

Post #12: Check your breasts and know your family history

Just a reminder that not everyone survives their fight with breast cancer. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid-90s. I was too young to remember most things. I just remember climbing into her hospital bed and asking her a million questions. Thankfully, she received chemotherapy and a mastectomy and was able to survive.

Fast forward to 2016, my mom had started having issues with her eye. At the time, I was finishing up grad school in Ohio. After being sent from doctor to doctor in Eastern NC, she finally was referred to a specialist at Duke. In August 2017, we learned that the cells found in her eye had origins in her breast. This meant that my mom had breast cancer once again that had already spread to other parts of her body. Although she had received a mammogram each year since her initial diagnosis, there was and is no commonly accepted screening practice of checking for cancer metastasis in previous cancer patients. By the time breast cancer metastasizes to your bones and other organs, it is terminal.

My mom went through a series of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Thankfully she had the best oncologist in the entire world, Dr. Jeremy Force. However, in conjunction with other complications, she lost her fight on January 2, 2019.

💕This post was made in honor of my mother and other people who have lost their lives while fighting breast cancer. There is still more work to do in terms of breast cancer care and research.💕

3 replies on “Post #12: Check your breasts and know your family history”

This year was the first time I really started to take examining my breast serious. I’ve had love ones (no family) who’ve passed from Breast Cancer and I was always scared to get an mammogram. Thank you for sharing your experience!

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Sending my condolences to you. Losing a parent is never easy. How often to you get checked for cancer since it can be hereditary? I know you don’t have to get mammograms until a certain age do you think it should be earlier? I agree that every should know there family history and get tested/checkups regularly

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I try to do a self-exam ever month. I’ve been advised to get my first mammogram at around 35 (ten years before my mom’s first diagnosis). My mom was tested and she did not have any of the common gene issues that are linked to breast cancer. If she had, I would have needed to begin the process of making certain decisions (example: some women get prophylactic mastectomies).

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