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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and discussing the importance of women’s health, I decided to interview my mother about her breast cancer battle and the impact it had on her life. 

Within the interview, I compiled a list of questions that I personally formulated as well as provided questions asked by the Associated Physicians advice column:

Q: When were you diagnosed with Breast cancer?

A: “In 2013. I went in for a routine mammogram, and the doctors told me that they noticed something unusual on my x-rays. When they told me that, I wanted a second opinion from my primary physicians at Stanford, who confirmed it was breast cancer. Breast cancer in its early stages”.

Q: What treatment did you receive while going through your battle with Breast Cancer?

A: “My tumor was so small that I only needed four weeks of radiation treatment. When I went in for my second opinion, they performed another test in which they took a sample of my breast tissue to confirm that it was cancer. Because it was a lower stage, I only needed radiation rather than a combination of radiation and chemotherapy”.

Q: How did you feel physically while under treatment?

A: “Initially, I felt fine, but as it progressed, due to the combination of getting the radiation, sometimes I felt very tired. On one occasion I developed pneumonia and a blood clot while still undergoing my radiation treatment and was rushed to emergency, [This was all] during the time of my four-week procedure”.

Q: What is one thing you wish you knew before you started treatment?

A: “I wish I knew more about radiation, the procedure, why some women only need one treatment, and how fortunate I was to only need radiation rather than both chemo and radiation procedures”.

Q: What was your biggest self-discovery or revelation after you were diagnosed?

A: “Life is precious, and when you are in a situation that could affect your life, small [issues] become meaningless. It also makes you want to spend more time with your family and loved ones, which increases your appreciation for life”.

Q: What was the most difficult part of your journey and how did you overcome it?

A: “One of the most difficult parts of my journey was when I developed a blood clot and needed an oxygen tank; A portable oxygen if I was walking around and another oxygen tank when I would go to sleep. Being a Christian, believing in God, and knowing that my faith would sustain me throughout my journey gave me peace of mind that everything would be fine [and helped to overcome the process]”.

Q: What advice would you give on how to best support a loved one going through breast cancer?

“Simply be there to support them if they need rides to doctor’s appointments. Listen and try to take their mind off the things they are going through. Essentially be as helpful as you can [for them]!”

Q: How did you feel after learning that you were in remission?

A: “I was so grateful to God and grateful that I no longer had cancer that I became even more appreciative of life [after learning]”.

First and foremost, I want to thank my mother for sharing her breast cancer experience, and I admire her courage in speaking on such a sensitive subject that allows other women to hear the perspectives of breast cancer survivors.

Share your thoughts about breast cancer awareness with @HerCampusSJSU!

Siobhan Robinson is a member of the Her Campus national writing program. She works on the Entertainment and Culture team, covering the most recent pop culture events, trends, and entertainment releases. Previously, she worked as an Entertainment and Culture intern during the Spring 2023 semester, where she was supervised in writing breaking news verticals, live coverage of events such as the Grammys and Met Gala, and interviewing emerging Gen Z talent for Her Campus's "Next Questions" segment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in Spring 2024 with a B.A. in Communication Studies from San Jose State University and received communication honors for completing a graduate-level course during her undergraduate studies. While in college, she was an active member of the SJSU chapter of Her Campus, serving on the executive board as Editor-In-Chief. In this role, she supervised a team of writers, senior editors, and copy editors, and assessed their articles for the site. Previously, she served as a senior editor, supervising a team of 4-5 writers, and also worked as a campus correspondent for the entire chapter. Additionally, she contributed to the school's publication magazine, Access, and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In her free time, Siobhan enjoys scrapbooking, hanging out with friends, going to concerts, and, of course, writing for fun! A die-hard fangirl, she loves sharing everything she knows about her favorite boy bands, even if you don't ask. If you need her, you'll likely find her binge-watching the latest K-drama or catching up on pop-culture social commentaries on YouTube.