I promise

"I promise, Suzy... Even if it takes the rest of my life." - Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

What is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?


Just in recent years, Triple Negative Breast Cancer has sparked interest in the news where instead of calling the tumor as ER-negative, PR-negative, and HER2-negative; researchers began using the shorthand term, "Triple Negative," dubbed the "new type" type of cancer. Being Triple Negative, you don't have a targeted therapy and that your only treatment option is chemotherapy.

Triple Negative is seen in about 15% of all breast cancers. Triple Negative is a very aggressive cancer that tends to strike younger women, pre-menopause, especially among African-American women and women who have BRCA1 mutations. The tumor tends to be fast growing and is less likely to show up on an annual mammogram. TN is more likely to metastasis early on; has a high rate of recurrence in the first 2-3 years from diagnosis and has a poorer prognosis than other types of breast cancer due to lack of specific, targeted treatment for TNBC.

Carpe diem

Seize Each new Day with Renewed Strength,
Believe in Yourself, Go forward with
Courage and faith
to face whatever Tomorrow may bring.

Chicks For Charity motto:

Enjoy life. Laugh a lot.
Work hard. Play hard.
Be thankful for our blessings.
Share the wisdom. Give back

Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Peace Love and a Cure Anthem Video

My friend and TNBC Survivor Roxanne Martinez was honored with the 2014 Courage Award, Please watch her amazing story of hope  ...and at 3:47, you'll see a photo of Roxanne and me in the video, "Sisterhood"

Congratulations Roxanne Martinez on receiving this year's Peace, Love and a Cure 2014 Courage Award. You give so much of yourself and encouragement to us TNBC sisters. Thank you for being our voice of TNBC and inspiring us to grasp on to hope, it's within our reach. xoxo

Roxanne Martinez's acceptance speech

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Vote for Lori Flowers of Triple Step Towards the Cure for $10,000 Lady GODIVA Grant

“You have to bloom where you are planted.” This was my sister’s mantra, even after her diagnosis with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), a disease many people have never heard of. Co-founding Triple Step Toward the Cure was my way of ‘blooming’ after losing her by raising awareness of TNBC and actively supporting those diagnosed. Treatment options are still limited and many women we work with are struggling just to make ends meet. We have a ways to go. However, I believe the steps we are taking add to collective efforts being made to better treat and ultimately end this disease." ~ Lori Flowers

Vote now through May 16, 2014:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Susan G. Komen Blogger Summit DC 2014

I'm very honored to be apart of this great event learning the direction of Komen's mission moving forward to a world without breast cancer. I was among 8 other bloggers who were selected to be a part of Komen's Blogger Summit in Washington DC on May 9th, 2014.  I've met speakers of the Mission team where science researchers and a patient advocate explained the process of reviewing Komen grants to ensure that only the best research is funded.  I was impressed in how the Komen Mission Team is committed to helping women in our communities and supporting outreach programs to encourage and empower women to be aware of their own bodies at an earlier age.  Komen's main focus continues to be in research to find a cure to end breast cancer forever.

Komen Blogger Summit's Agenda

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tumour Cell Genome Studies Give Rise to Individualized Therapy

" ...have documented 80 different types of an aggressive form of breast
cancer, called triple negative, defined by the absence of three hormone
receptors. Triple negative breast cancers represent about 16 per cent of breast cancers and, until the BC Cancer Agency’s work, had been treated as a single disease, often with little success. “The great advance of genomics is that we can now see how different they all are,” said Marra. Marra and Aparicio also found that cells within a single breast cancer tumour may contain different mutations, thus creating a mosaic of cells all evolving independently that each respond to treatment differently. That means drugs that kill cells with a specific mutation could easily leave other cancer cells unscathed to start new tumours. Cancer treatments would have to be targeted to the genome of all the cancer cells in a tumour to be effective, he said."

Click link to read full story:
Tumour cell genome studies give rise to individualized therapy

Sunday, May 4, 2014

TNBCDay 2014 with Dr. Mohamed at UTMC

What started as an email I sent to my oncologist seeking their input of what more can we do to raise awareness of Triple Negative Breast Cancer for TNBC Awareness Day... 
Dr. Mohamed and the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) put together a very well-organized and educational program with several speakers sharing information on various survivorship topics. I was excited when my Oncology Nurse had asked me to be one of the speakers and talk about moving pass breast cancer and being a voice for TNBC. I had a few of my TNBC sisters present from our support group which was very nice. Thank you Dr. Mohamed, Jan Tipton and all of the UTMC speakers in making this conference a success in bringing awareness to our local community.

My Story...
My name is Melissa and I am a 4 year Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor. In 2009, I found my lump by chance when I felt something under my breast. My mammogram did NOT detect my 2cm tumor because of having dense breast tissues. It was thought to be just a cyst, but I insisted on a needle biopsy right then and there. Then I received the dreaded call from my doctor. I'm 41 and I have breast cancer.  I learned that I had a rare and aggressive form of cancer that doesn't respond to hormone therapy, Triple Negative Breast Cancer. 
I spoke of early detection and the importance of self-breast exams and that TNBC tumors are not always detected on mammogram.  I spoke of TNBC is striking young women as early as age 24 that I personally know of. 

Moving forward after cancer... 
Nearing the end of my treatments I felt lost, life after cancer treatments was a lot harder than when I was going through it. People seem to think that when you're done with treatments and is cancer free that it's done and over, put it behind you, things can go back to normal... Only if it was that easy. I've struggled some... the life I once had, there's no going back to...

The Victory Center...
I turned to a local cancer wellness center for support, trying to figure out my new "normal" and live again.  I immediately got involved in their Breast Cancer Support Group where I was surrounded by people who didn't mind talking about cancer, sharing stories and who "get it."  The support group has helped me rejuvenate my self-image and ease the transition that I've been going through.

People I've met along the way...
I have met several other TNBC Survivors through an online support group and bonded with several of the women. I have met up with TNBC Sisters at different conferences, support groups and have traveled from as far as Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina and California to meet up with my TNBC ladies.

My Blog...
I have created a blog, "Triple Negative Breast Cancer, I Won't Back Down!" documenting my journey to keep my family and friends informed of my prognosis. Journalizing was therapeutical for me as a way of expressing my feelings on the journey I'm on. My blogs expresses how I moved forward with postings and photos of breast cancer events that I participated in, meeting other breast cancer survivors and living life again. After treatments were over, I wanted to turn my blog into a more of an informational and inspirational site for TNBC awareness; posting latest research articles, inspiring stories and memorials on my TNBC pink sisters.  With my blog site, I have reached out to people all over the world reaching many countries in every continent with over 133,000 views to my site. My hope is that my site will help others to have hope, give them the strength to fight and to provide resources to get them the information they need to know about this TNBC subtype.

Our Sisterhood... 

We are an unique Sisterhood that are bonded by our uncommon disease.
I keep fighting for those that are still fighting, those that are too weak to fight and those that can no longer fight. I stand next to each and everyone of you sisters and fight, my fight is not over till all of my sisters are safe. Never lose sight of hope.  Have hope for a targeted therapy, and hope for more tomorrows. 

Quote from TNBC sister who passed at the age of 35:
"Our support group, we are never just one alone... The fears, the tears, the stress, the anxiety, the worry, and the pain are shared among all of us women in our group."
Dr. Mohamed

Melissa showing where she found her lump


Pink Sisters, Jyll and I LIVING LIFE!

My pink ladies Jyll, Melissa, Rita and Diane

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Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation
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The SCAR Project

The SCAR Project
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Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project

Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project
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