“...it is important to know that there are so many new developments in finding a cure and you will win your fight!”
How have you been affected by breast cancer?
The words “breast cancer” have been a part of my vocabulary since I was 10 years old and learned about its definition when my mom was diagnosed with the disease. My entire family was affected by breast cancer as it left my father a widower and three young children motherless.
Where did you get your strength and resilience from?
My strength and resilience comes from my mother who fought long and hard to battle breast cancer and watching her strength and determination instilled in me the same characteristics.
What has been most helpful to you in the support you have received?
I received much support from family members as well as teachers and doctors who helped me understand how I can help myself and take all the necessary steps to having a happy and healthy life.
What are some ways you would advise young women to help lower their risk for breast cancer?
It is vitally important that young women learn how to do self-breast examinations and speak with their doctors on what the best protocol would be for their own breast awareness. Everyone's diet and exercise affects their well-being and it's important for young women to be aware of their diet, their exercise regimens and alcohol intake as all three factors affect one's risk for breast cancer.
What is your message to other women about the importance of screening? Especially younger working women?
Screening plays a huge role in early detection of breast cancer so I would advise young women to speak to their mom or guardian about family history and make sure they are scheduled for their yearly appointments to be seen by a professional.
Did you know anyone who had breast cancer and how did that affect you?
My mom, as well as my step-mother and my sister were all diagnosed with breast cancer and therefore I am very diligent in going for mammograms, sonograms, as well as yearly breast MRI's.
Are you open to sharing if you were tested for the BRCA gene?
I have been tested for the gene which I am lucky enough not to be positive for, however my risk of getting breast cancer still remains as it does for all women. For anyone battling breast cancer it is important to know that there are so many new developments in finding a cure and you will win your fight!
What message do you have for others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Make sure you are in the right hands with doctors who are well trained. Ask questions - knowledge is power so don't be afraid to get second opinions if needed. Every year I have participated in the Relay for Life walk at Jones Beach and to walk with thousands of women and men who have won their battle is quite amazing. Get the support you need from family and friends, in addition to clergy and trained professionals who can help you win your own fight against the disease.