- 21. Breast Cancer Awareness Month Special: Trish Doolan’s experience with triple negative breast cancer and raising awareness of the BRCA gene Diane Gilman 40:33
Diane Gilman continues her Breast Cancer Awareness Month Specials, sitting down with breast cancer survivor and awareness advocate, Trish Doolan. Trish’s journey is marked by Resilience, determination, and a mission to empower women to take control of their health.
Trish is a cancer survivor who underwent a staggering 11 surgeries, including a double mastectomy, due to her breast cancer. She was diagnosed at the age of 56. She discovered that she carries the BRCA gene, a gene associated with an increased risk of cancer. During her treatment Trish realized she could help other women avoid going through this by advocating for genetic testing for all women once they turn 21.
Trish’s journey began when she felt a mysterious pain around her ribs and discovered a lump. With the backdrop of the COVID pandemic, the waiting list for medical checks became excruciatingly long. Despite initial doubts from her doctor, Trish’s insistence led to further investigation. After months of uncertainty, she was finally diagnosed with breast cancer. She was told her cancer was triple negative which is aggressive and often associated with the BRCA gene.
Diane mentions that there are over 200 types of breast cancer, some genetic and some not, highlighting the importance of everyone performing regular checks.
Positive Attitude in the Face of Adversity
When Trish faced her first chemo treatment, she brought a positive attitude. She looked for the silver lining, listening to music, singing, and dancing to make the experience more bearable. Diane highlights the importance of such positivity in navigating the challenging journey of cancer.
Trish’s battle included a remarkable 11 surgeries, each requiring its own set of rituals and courage. From double mastectomy to lymph node removal, each procedure was a step towards her recovery.
Trish’s Words of Wisdom
While battling cancer, Trish realized the importance of access to genetic testing for everyone. She’s working on a bill to make genetic testing available to all women over 21, helping them understand and address cancer risks early.
Trish encourages women to find their tribe, get tested together, and support one another, regardless of the results. Diane adds her advice, stressing the need for immediate action if you suspect a problem.
Diane says the goal is not to scare but to educate. Breast cancer is not a death sentence; it’s a call to action. Diane and Trish’s conversation shines a light on the importance of early detection, positivity, and support in the face of adversity.
Tune in every Thursday in October for more inspiring stories and insights during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
More about Trish and the BRCA gene
BRCA aware: https://www.brcaaware.org/meet-trish
Connect with Diane
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