In Arizona, more than 3,400 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
One of them is Jaquelin Lamadrid, a 31-year-old Douglas woman and mom of three.
One day in February, she felt a lump on her right breast in the shower. Within two weeks she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I just remember like putting my hands over my eyes and dropping my head and crying,” La Madrid said.
She cried when she got home from the hospital, the next day and the day after the surgery to remove both of her breasts.
After that, she hasn’t shed a tear.
“You grab your family by one hand and you grab God by the other hand and you walk down this tunnel and you don’t look back,” was the advice of one doctor.
Now she drives two hours to Banner University Medical Center from her Douglas home for chemotherapy.
Douglas’ only hospital closed in July 2015.
Lamadrid blames her poor diet and smoking habit for the cancer, but her doctor, Pavani Chalasani said it’s unlikely those were significant factors.
“I don't think she could have done anything or not done anything which could have prevented this,” Chalasani said. “She’s not supposed to have cancer at this age.”
Breast cancer is a much more common diagnosis after age 65. Smoking is more likely to cause lung cancer and Lamadrid didn’t have a family history of the disease.
Lamadrid made changes after her diagnosis. She’s eating more vegetables and juicing and she’s leaned on her family to help take care of the kids.
“I am very blessed I don’t look at this as a burden,” LaMadrid said. “I don’t look at this as a curse on myself I look at this as a second opportunity to do my life completely different and to let all negativity go.”
Also on the program:
- Dr. Pavani Chalasani, an oncologist at the University of Arizona Cancer Center who is treating Lamadrid.
- Dr. Daniel Derksen, Director of the University of Arizona Center for Rural Health.
- Wendy Andrews, practice administrator at the University of Arizona Cancer Center.