Stage III triple-negative breast cancer survivor encourages breast awareness

I never expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer at age 24. So, when I found a mass in my left breast in the summer of 2017, I wasn’t really concerned. I assumed it was a fibroid, and waited until my annual check-up a few months later to ask my gynecologist about it. She thought it was probably a fibroid, too, but she sent me to MD Anderson’s Undiagnosed Breast Clinic to be sure. There, I had a mammogram, followed by an ultrasound. The results showed it was either an infection or breast cancer, so I had a biopsy, too. My doctor called me with the results a few days later. I was out of town at a conference at the time, but I didn’t think she could possibly have bad news. So, when she asked if I was in a good place to talk about it, I answered, “Of course!” That’s when I found out I had invasive ductal carcinoma, a type of breast cancer. My triple-negative breast cancer treatment My heart dropped when I heard the news. I wasn’t even 25 yet, and there was no history of cancer in my family. My doctor said my breast cancer was triple-negative, which meant it didn’t have any genetic markers that could be used for targeted therapy. The cancer was also very aggressive — already at stage III. I needed to start treatment right away. I’d only lived in Houston for about a year at that point, and I always kind of wondered why I ended up there. But after being diagnosed with breast cancer, I think I found...