Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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October 7, 2012

Breast cancer survivor wants to give back, help other victims

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By LIBBY CLUETT | lcluett@mineralwellsindex.com

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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