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SALUTE TO SURVIVORS: Oneida woman shares journey to help others

Posted 10/19/22

Angela Storey of Oneida was 43 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021. Genetic testing showed that she had an increased lifetime risk of cancer.

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SALUTE TO SURVIVORS: Oneida woman shares journey to help others

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Angela Storey of Oneida was 43 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021. Genetic testing showed that she had an increased lifetime risk of cancer. An MRI led to a biopsy, which led to a positive diagnosis. It is her hope that sharing her story may help someone else be diagnosed early. 

When were you diagnosed, what age and what stage?

June 28, 2021, I received a diagnosis of stage 1 invasive ductile carcinoma. I was 43, and had lost my brother 11 months prior to chondrosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of the cartilage.

How was the cancer initially detected?

I started getting mammograms at the age of 40 in 2017. Due to dense breasts, I frequently also needed an ultrasound. In the three years I had mammograms, I followed up 13 times for additional views, ultrasounds, and biopsies. In 2018, I had an additional family member diagnosed with cancer, allowing me to qualify for genetic testing. I had it done at my next visit, and it showed an increased lifetime risk of cancer. The radiologist recommended an annual breast MRI. I had to encourage my provider to order this test, as I am not a BRCA carrier and have no breast cancer in my family. That MRI led to two biopsies, the second of which was positive.

What was your treatment process?

I visited a surgeon and decided on a mastectomy with a prophylactic mastectomy (to avoid a recurrence) on the opposite side. After my surgery, lab testing showed that the initial biopsy actually removed all of the cancerous cells in my left breast because it was caught so early. I also had no lymph node involvement.

They found LCIS in my right breast, which, from what I understand, increases my risk of developing cancer again as well. This makes me certain I chose the right path for me.

It was also recommended that I take hormone blockers for 10 years to reduce the risk of a recurrence. I’ve made it through the first year!

What message would you like to provide to others in the community?

I would encourage everyone to get the recommended breast imaging. Get genetic testing. Do your self-exams and get a clinical breast exam. Understand your risks. I am convinced it changed the trajectory of both my treatment and my prognosis dramatically, and for that I am so grateful. 

Are you a breast cancer survivor, or do you know someone who is? As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Daily Sentinel is saluting survivors in this daily feature throughout October. To be featured, email Pam Sperbeck at PSperbeck@RNYmedia.

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