In 2000 Susan Oshiro-Taogoshi was 38 years old, a single mother working two jobs to raise three children. Like most Moms, Susan put her health needs last. “I have NO family history of any cancer in either my paternal or maternal side of my family,” Susan rationalized.
The years fly by, 38 becomes 40 then 45 and still no mammogram. She promised herself that she would take her mammogram on her 46th birthday. However, before she could schedule it, she found a soft, painful, palpable lump in her breast. “It’s nothing,” she tells herself. “I’m active in sports, this is just a muscle spasm. I’ll just massage it and get rid of the lump.”
The lump did not go away, Susan took a mammogram. Her doctor then ordered an ultrasound and biopsy and after several weeks, she heard the news, “You have cancer.” Susan had triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma, stage III breast cancer.
She had a mastectomy followed by six months of chemotherapy, then 30 daily radiation treatments on Oahu.
Susan contacted the American Cancer Society for help. She signed up for Look Good…Feel Better classes and the Reach to Recovery program. The American Cancer Society was also able to help her with air transportation and discounted lodging when she was on Oahu for radiation treatment.
Susan’s breast cancer has been in remission for three years, and her message is simple, “Ladies, get your annual mammogram, no matter what! Family history or no family history.”