Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Breast Cancer Survivorship: Pam’s Story

Posted on by DCPC

Pam Bryant was only 43 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Photo of Pam Bryant
Breast cancer survivor Pam Bryant. She also shares her story in this podcast.

She says she was disappointed, but not surprised. Most women, especially young women like her, would be shocked. But she has had several close family members diagnosed with breast cancer, which makes it more likely that she herself would have breast cancer.

“I was diagnosed at the same age my mom was, and in the same breast,” she says. In addition to her mother, a maternal aunt and a cousin had also had breast cancer before the age of 45.

A family history of breast cancer increases a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer. Because of what she knew about her family, Pam had been getting yearly mammograms since her twenties. In 2013, she found a lump in between her yearly mammograms. Doctors did a biopsy and the biopsy came back malignant. “Sure, I was scared,” Pam says. “Cancer is a frightening thing.”

Pam started with treatment right away. “I knew my family history, but I had also witnessed the strength and survivorship of my family members,” she says. She was determined to fight the cancer with everything she had.

Doctors started Pam on chemotherapy. After eight treatments, the lump had shrunk to almost nothing. Then, she had a lumpectomy and lymph node biopsy and started radiation therapy.

Pam says that her family and friends were invaluable over the course of the treatment. Family members and co-workers sat with her during her chemotherapy treatments. They brought her food and helped look after her house when she wasn’t able to do it. “You sometimes just have to let people help you,” Pam says.

Since then, the cancer has not returned. There is always a chance it could come back. “When you’re taking the medicine, you feel like you have all this power against the cancer, but when you stop it’s like ‘now what?’” says Pam. She says she has to get used to a “new normal” routine, which includes frequent mammograms and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. She continues to eat healthy foods and exercise and tries to keep her stress levels low.

Importantly, she also reminds her younger sister to keep up with her screening because of their family history.

Pam’s advice for women dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer: “You can’t tell them not to be upset or afraid, because it is a scary diagnosis. You’re going to have your highs and your lows; some days you’re going to feel well and some days you won’t,” she says. “Take it one day at a time.”

More Information

CDC’s Bring Your Brave campaign has resources for women with a family history of breast cancer or certain genetic traits that can raise their risk of getting breast cancer.

Posted on by DCPC

3 comments on “Breast Cancer Survivorship: Pam’s Story”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    love that kind of story because I went through that with my wife. she went through a lot and I pray that you hang in there too. you are to be commended for your efforts.

    That storie gives me hope. Just diagnosed in Oct. Had my first treatment on 12/21. Now just going through side effects. Still trying to work. Cant stay home.

    Thanks for inspiring story. I have visted blogs and I notice that African American women dont talk about breast cancer. I wonder why that is.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments posted become a part of the public domain, and users are responsible for their comments. This is a moderated site and your comments will be reviewed before they are posted. Read more about our comment policy »

TOP