“I put chemo to the test”
Nina S, retired fourth-grade math and science teacher. Diagnosed with node-positive, invasive breast cancer.
Recurrence Score result: 21
Nina is a retired fourth-grade math and science teacher and avid sports cards collector who enjoys sketching, journaling, and spending time at the farmhouse with her family and friends. As a former teacher, Nina is devoted to education and helping others reach their potential. During her career teaching, Nina worked to continuously improve the lives of her students by encouraging them to be “young mathematicians.” Nina’s approach to teaching was innovative, collaborative, and compassionate.
It was a shock to her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2021, at the age of 64. Prior to her diagnosis, Nina did not have any physical symptoms or signs of breast cancer, and there was no history of breast cancer in her family. It was when her new PCP recommended that she schedule a mammogram that her diagnosis journey began. The initial mammogram came back questionable, which is when her healthcare providers conducted another mammogram, a sonogram, and a biopsy, leading to her eventual diagnosis of early-stage, invasive breast cancer.
Following a lumpectomy during which 3 of her lymph nodes were removed (including one that was found to contain cancer cells), her doctor recommended using the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score® test to help determine whether she would benefit from chemotherapy. Nina’s Recurrence Score result was 21, indicating that she would not benefit from chemotherapy and could proceed with hormone-blocking therapy and radiation. Nina was overcome with emotion.
Nina feels fortunate that her cancer was caught early and that she was able to benefit from a genomic test that put her on a much simpler medical path. Based on her personal experience and background as an educator, she is now compelled to share her story to help others facing a cancer diagnosis. She encourages those who have recently been diagnosed with cancer to learn as much as possible from their healthcare providers, in order to make informed decisions about their treatment.