This series features stories from cancer patients, who share their experience coping with their life-changing diagnosis and treatment.
When Catherine Goff was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma while attending college
in the 1970s, it was the shock of a lifetime. Less surprising — but still life-changing — was her later diagnosis with breast cancer, a common secondary cancer for patients like Goff. Listen as she explains how the two diagnoses affected her physically
and emotionally, and as she shares how she is doing today.
Ben Blaisdell was a popular 16-year-old when he started experiencing uncharacteristic chills,
which eventually led to the surprising news that he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Listen has he reads his college application essay about the experience, and discusses with his mother the effect it had on their family and how they are doing today.
When Mike Johnston felt a lump in his chest in 2009, he assumed it was a side effect of a high blood pressure medication.
But after a routine doctor's visit, followed by a mammogram and ultrasound, Johnston's diagnosis was confirmed: He had male breast cancer. Hear Johnston
reflect on his diagnosis and treatment, including
how friends and family reacted to the news and why he has become such a big breast cancer advocate today.
Amy McHugh's daughter, Emily Coughlin, was a normal, active 4-year-old, until she started experiencing
knee pain the ultimately led to a diagnosis of high-risk neuroblastoma.
Listen as McHugh recalls what the experience was like for her and her family, and hear from Emily, now
11, what she remembers from her time in treatment.
Gabby Spear, a young, active mom, had never noticed a lump or pain before suddenly finding her breast cancer in November 2013, when she was 38. She was shocked. Hear Spear share what her treatment was like, how it affected her family, and how she talks about her BRCA-positive cancer with her two daughters.
Melissa and Noel were both diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in their 30s. Matched through Dana-Farber's SoulMates program, Noel was tasked with
mentoring Melissa through her treatment, which began in early 2015. Now, as both women are finished with active treatment, the mentor-mentee relationship has blossomed into a friendship beyond breast cancer.
Duncan was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in October 2015, but she isn’t fond of the phrase “stage IV” and prefers to say she has “treatable, non-curable cancer.” With that mentality, Duncan has been able to put her diagnosis into perspective and
live life to the fullest. Eric Winer, MD, Duncan’s oncologist and director of the Breast Oncology Program in
the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, joins Duncan to chat about her treatment experience.
Maggie was faced with a number of difficult decisions when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28. Some of the biggest decisions she faced centered around her ability to have children later in life, and whether treatment would affect her future
fertility. Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, Maggie’s oncologist and founder/director of the Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, joins Maggie to discuss some of the important decisions young breast cancer
Although they were both diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, Amanda and Judy elected two very different surgical treatments. They discuss their surgery options and decisions along with Dr. Tari King,
chief of breast surgery at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
about their story and what researchers say about deciding whether or not to have a mastectomy after a breast cancer diagnosis.
Gabby Spear and Colleen Sullivan discuss the ups and downs of balancing motherhood and breast cancer, how they communicated about their diagnosis, and how their roles changed throughout the course of treatment.