In honour of breast cancer awareness month, this series will highlight stories of strong women in the community who have won their battle with this life-changing illness. Paula Alfred of St. Lucia shares her unique journey with us; how she is and has been coping, and what messages she has to share.
When were you diagnosed and at what age?
I was diagnosed in October 2011 at age 46.
What stage were you diagnosed with?
How was the cancer initially detected? (i.e. through a BSE, a CBE or an annual mammogram)
Through a breast self-exam I felt pain in the breast.
How did you feel when you first received the news?
I was kind of expecting the results but felt a bit sad.
Is there a family history of breast cancer?
No, I have no family history of breast cancer.
Did you have a support network? If not, how did you overcome it or find it?
I did have a support network in the form of family and friends and the American Cancer Society.
Tell me about your treatment process.
I had six rounds of chemo (TCH) which included a full year of herceptin. The side effects were hair loss and the loss of taste.
Were there any programmes or services offered to you that would help with the treatment process?
Yes meeting with survivors on a monthly basis.
What message would you like to provide women in the community?
Get to know your bodies and any unusual lumps and pain needs to be checked out. Please do BSE and mammograms.