Breast Cancer Stories From Patients, Survivors, Caregivers | The Patient Story

Breast Cancer Stories from Patients, Survivors, Caregivers

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer. Once you get a diagnosis, there are so many questions about how to navigate life with breast cancer.

Get your human answers to your breast cancer questions from patients who share their in-depth stories below, highlighting treatment decision-making, advocating for themselves as patients, and quality of life issues. Choose the story based on breast cancer types and subtypes.

We also feature top breast cancer medical expert voices.


Breast Cancer Patient Stories

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stories

Patients share their stories of managing invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), which is the most common kind of invasive breast cancer. It typically starts in the lining of the milk ducts before growing outside to surrounding tissue. This type of breast cancer may also spread through the lymphatic and blood systems to other areas of the body.

Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 1, ER+, PR+, HER2- | Amelia’s Story

Amelia L., IDC, Stage 1, ER/PR+, HER2-



Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer.
1st Symptoms: Lump found during self breast exam
Treatment: TC chemotherapy; lumpectomy, double mastectomy, reconstruction; Tamoxifen
Breast Cancer Stories: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), Stage 1B | Rachel’s Story

Rachel Y., 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
Breast Cancer Stories:  IDC, Stage 2, Triple Positive (Triple+) | Rach’s Story

Rach D., IDC, Stage 2, Triple Positive



Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer.
1st Symptoms: Lump in right breast
Treatment: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy, double mastectomy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 2B, ER+, PR+| Caitlin’s Story

Caitlin J., 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)
Breast Cancer Stories: Triple Negative (TNBC), IDC,Stage 2, Grade 3, BRCA1+ | Joy’s Story

Joy R., IDC, Stage 2, Triple Negative



Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer making it harder to treat
1st Symptoms: Lump in breast
Treatment: Chemo, double mastectomy, hysterectomy
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 2B, Grade 2, ER+ | Callie’s Story

Callie M., IDC, Stage 2B, Grade 2, ER+



Cancer Details: ER positive = estrogen receptor positive
1st Symptoms:
Dimpling/lump found on breast
Treatment:
Mastectomy, AC/T chemotherapy, hysterectomy, reconstruction
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 2B, Soft Tissue Sarcoma as 2nd Cancer | Monica’s Story

Monica H., IDC, Stage 2B



Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer.
1st Symptoms: Tightness and lump in left breast
Treatment: Chemotherapy, radiation, surgery
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Triple +, Stage 3 | Stefanie’s Story

Stefanie H., IDC, Triple Positive, Stage 3



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 breast
Treatment: chemotherapy, lumpectomy, radiation
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 2A,Triple+ | Doreen’s Story

Doreen D., 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
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 2B, TNBC, Pregnant with Cancer | Melissa’s Story

Melissa H., Stage 2B, Triple Negative



Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer making it harder to treat
1st Symptoms: Lump in left breast
Treatment: Mastectomy, chemotherapy, 2nd mastectomy
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 3, HER2+ | Genoa’s Story

Genoa M., Stage 2, HER2-Positive



Cancer details: HER2-positive tends to be more aggressive than HER2-negative cases
1st Symptoms: Nausea
Treatment: Chemotherapy, radiation
Breast Cancer Story: Pregnant with Cancer, IDC, Stage 2B to Stage 3 | Andrea’s Story

Andrea A., IDC, Stage 2B/3, ER+



Cancer details: Found cancer while pregnant
1st Symptoms: Divot in breast
Treatment: Chemotherapy, radiation, surgery
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 3, Grade 3, Triple Negative (TNBC), BRCA1+ | Stephanie’s  Story

Stephanie J., Stage 3, Triple Negative, BRCA1+



Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer
1st Symptoms: Lump in left breast
Treatment: Chemotherapy, surgery
Metastatic Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, HER2+, Stage 3, Relapse, Stage 4 | Renee’s Story

Renee N., IDC, Stage 3, HER2+



Cancer details: IDC is most common kind of breast cancer.
1st Symptoms: Lump in breast
Treatment: chemotherapy, bilateral mastectomy, radiation
Metastatic Breast Cancer Stories: IDC, Stage 4, Triple Positive | Shari’s Story

Shari S., Stage 4, Metastatic, Triple Positive



Cancer details: Triple positive = positive for HER2, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR)
1st Symptoms: Lump in breast
Treatment: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation
Metastatic Breast Cancer Story: IDC, TNBC (Triple Negative), Stage 2B, Relapse, Stage 4 | Erin’s Story

Erin C., IDC, Triple Negative, Stage 2B/4 Metastatic



Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer making it harder to treat
1st Symptoms: Pain in breast
Treatment: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC & DCIS, Stage 2 | Margaret’s Story

Margaret A., IDC & DCIS, 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

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ Stories

Read patient stories from people who’ve been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a noninvasive form of breast cancer when cancer cells start in the lining of a breast duct and have not spread to surrounding tissues.

Breast Cancer Stories: IDC & DCIS, Stage 2 | Margaret’s Story

Margaret A., IDC & DCIS, 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
Breast Cancer Stories: DCIS, Stage 4, Metastatic, Triple Positive, Grade 2, Relapse Twice | Alison’s Story

Alison R., Partially Differentiated DCIS, Stage 4 Metastatic



Cancer details: Triple positive = positive for HER2, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR)
1st Symptoms: Lump in underarm/breast
Treatment: Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, targeted therapy

IDC & DCIS Stories
Breast Cancer Stories: DCIS, Stage 0, ER+, Paget’s Disease | Natalie’s Story
Natalie W., 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
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC & DCIS, Stage 2 | Margaret’s Story

Margaret A., IDC & DCIS, 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
Breast Cancer Stories: Invasive & Lobular, Stage 3A,  ER+ | Tina’s Story
Tina C., Ductal & Lobular Carcinoma in Situ, Stage 3A, ER+



Cancer details: Both ductal and lobular, estrogen receptor positive. Different than breast cancer Tina’s mom was diagnosed w/ twice.
1st Symptoms: Sunken in nipple of right breast
Treatment: Double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy
Breast Cancer Stories: IDC & DCIS, Stage 2B, ER+ | Cat’s Story

Cat L., IDC & DCIS, 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 radiating from lump
Treatment: Bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy

Previvor BRCA2 Stories
Breast Cancer Stories: BRCA 2 Previvor | Erika’s Story

Erika S., BRCA2 Mutation



Cancer Details: Previvor
1st Symptoms: Family history of breast cancer, no physical symptoms
Treatment: Preventative double mastectomy, direct implant reconstruction
...

Breast Cancer Oncologists

Doug Blayney, Breast Cancer | The Patient Story

Doug Blayney, MD



Oncologist: Specializing in breast cancer | HER2, Estrogen+, Triple Negative, Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy
Experience: 30+ years
Institution: Stanford Medical

Navigating Life with Cancer

Processing a Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer patients share how they were able to eventually process their cancer diagnosis.

Breaking the News of Diagnosis to Loved Ones

Once cancer patients learn of their own diagnosis, one of the top questions next is how to tell family and friends. Get some guidance from those who’ve already been there.

How to Be a Self-Advocate

Cancer patients share how they advocated for themselves throughout the diagnosis and treatment experience.

Hair Loss & Cancer Treatment

One of the most popular questions, especially with chemotherapy as part of cancer treatment, is, “Will I lose my hair?” Hear how some people managed through hair loss.