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
Pam Bryant

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.

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

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    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.

    Love your story…the last part of your story is very true..first diagnosed with breast cancer 3 years ago and now it came back and set house in my bones…got my femur fracture in January, 2022. had a metal implant now plus I cannot walk and is now undergoing rehab treatment too. undergoing my second treatment now since the first one did not work. Now going through chemotherapy again…some days are good some days are worst…fear is my constant companion…Somehow, I surrendered all my worries and fears to the Lord and it helped a lot…We just have to be steadfast in our faith and the support of my family has helped me to be stronger and remain positive. I hope that one day I can also be a survivor like you. With God’s grace and divine healing power, I remain faithful to his promise that I will be healed…to all cancer patients and survivors lets keep fighting and keep our faith strong… keep safe everyone!!!

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Page last reviewed: Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Page last updated: Tuesday, June 11, 2024