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Shared Hope to Overcome Breast Cancer: Denise’s Story

Doctor giving patient mammogram

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most prominent cancer among women in the US.

TOI teammate and breast cancer survivor, Denise Hopper, shares her inspiring story about how working with fellow patients provided her a much needed community of inspiration and hope:

woman holding sign on first day of chemotherapyA courageous community and shared hope through the battle of cancer

“My name is Denise and I have worked in Radiation Oncology for over 30 years. I know the importance of daily mammograms and self-examinations. That being said, I had my yearly mammogram that was reported “normal”. Two months later I had a swollen breast and a lump about 4-5 cm. A biopsy was done immediately that revealed triple negative breast cancer, Stage III.

I was in utter shock and disbelief.

This was followed by chemotherapy, 17 infusions, a mastectomy, radiation therapy, DIEP reconstruction, and modifications all lasting up until about a month ago. I especially give thanks to the teammates I work with and Dr. Dave. Because of their empathy and understanding, I was able to continue to work at TOI through this time, but able to go home on the days I wasn’t able to get through the day. I’d also like to mention the patients that helped me through my journey without even knowing they did. Working in a place interacting with fellow cancer patients on a daily basis gave me community, hope, and understanding. I’ve gained a special understanding of cancer patients and learned that they are unbelievably strong people! Their hope has a way of inspiring those around them and that is part of the reason that today I am doing well and can be so grateful for this life… In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I share my story and urge you that you must get checked out regularly, especially if you notice anything out of the ordinary.”

At TOI, we are proud to provide treatment year-round to patients and their families that leads to improved outcomes. Whether someone is still undergoing treatment or has long since won their battle against cancer, we are happy to celebrate and support survivors in all capacities.

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