Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

October 7, 2012

Breast cancer survivor wants to give back, help other victims

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Mineral Wells Index

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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