Breast Cancer Stories

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer. Mammograms can detect breast cancer early, possibly before it has spread. (National Cancer Institute) Breast cancer survivors share their treatment experience below.


I. Understanding Breast Cancer

Ask a Breast Cancer Specialist (Oncologist)

Dr. Doug Blayney, Breast Cancer Oncologist

Experience: 30 years
Hospital: Stanford Medical
Hospital size:
Large private institution

 

II. Breast Cancer Patient Stories

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stories

Rachel Yasui, IDC, Stage 1B

Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer. Stage 1B.
1st Symptoms: None, caught by delayed mammogram
Treatment: Double mastectomy, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, hormone therapy (Tamoxifen)
Status: Remission

Rach DiMare, IDC, Stage 2, Triple Positive

Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer. Triple positive = positive for HER2, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR)
1st Symptoms: Lump in right breast
Treatment: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, double mastectomy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy
Status: Ongoing maintenance

Doreen DiSalvo, IDC, Stage 2A, Triple Positive

Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer. Triple positive = positive for HER2, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR)
1st Symptoms: Lump in left breast
Treatment: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (TCHP), lumpectomy, radiation
Status: Remission

Caitlin James, IDC, Stage 2B, ER/PR Positive

Cancer Details: ER/PR positive = estrogen and progesterone receptor positive
1st Symptoms:
Lump found on breast
Treatment:
Lumpectomy, AC/T chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy (Lupron and Anastrozole)
Status:
Ongoing treatment

Melissa Humphrey, Stage 2B, Triple Negative

Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer making it harder to treat; Melissa was pregnant while undergoing treatment
1st Symptoms: Lump in left breast
Treatment: Mastectomy, chemotherapy, 2nd mastectomy
Status: Remission

Genoa Martell, Stage 2, HER2-Positive

Cancer details: HER2-positive tends to be more aggressive than HER2-negative cases
1st Symptoms: Nausea
Treatment: Chemotherapy, radiation
Status: Remission

Combination Types

Natalie Wilson

Diagnosis: Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, Stage 0, ER+; Paget’s Disease
Cancer Details: Only 1-4% of breast cancer cases also includes Paget’s
1st Symptoms: 2cm lump found in right breast
Treatment: Lumpectomy, double subcutaneous mastectomy, hormone therapy
Status: Remission

Margaret Abe-Koga

Diagnosis: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, Stage 2B
Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer. DCIS means cancer has not spread into surrounding breast tissue
1st Symptoms: Pain in left breast, left nipple inverting
Treatment: Double mastectomy, chemo (AC-T), Radiation
Status: Remission

Tina Conrad

Diagnosis: Ductal & Lobular Carcinoma in Situ, Stage 3A, ER+
Cancer details: Both ductal and lobular, estrogen receptor positive. Different than the breast cancer Tina’s mom was diagnosed with twice.
1st Symptoms: Sunken in nipple of right breast
Treatment: Double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy Status: 5-year remission

Previvor

Erika Stallings

Diagnosis: BRCA2 Mutation
Cancer Details: Previvor
1st Symptoms: Family history of breast cancer, no physical symptoms
Treatment: Preventative double mastectomy, direct implant reconstruction
Status: No evidence of disease