By LIBBY CLUETT | firstname.lastname@example.org
Christy Graham was just one week shy of her 33rd birthday when she learned a lump on her right breast was cancerous. Like so many others who have shared their stories over the years, the date she learned the news – Oct. 28, 2009 – is etched in her mind.
“It was one heck of a birthday present,” said the 35-year-old mother of two now-teenaged girls.
“I found a lump in June. Being a mom, you put yourself on the back burner,” she recalled.
By the time she was diagnosed, Graham said her lump grew to 5 centimeters and was considered a Stage IIB. Although this implies a localized cancer, she later discovered the cancer actually had moved into a lymph node.
Hers was HER2-positive, which she said feeds off estrogen and she personally believes was connected to hormone replacement therapy she took after a 2008 hysterectomy.
“They won’t confirm it, but I personally believe that since it’s estrogen fed,” she said of the cancer. “I had a test done to see if it was genetic and [the test] was negative. I’m very glad because I have two girls.”
“There were two forms of breast cancer going on in the 5-centimeter [mass],” she said, adding that physicians diagnosed her with ductal carcinoma in situ – an early form of cancer that had not spread – along with invasive ductal carcinoma, which she said “leaks out” of the duct and invades the fatty tissue of the breast and beyond.
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