Tag Archives: Cancer

6 Causes of Lumps That Aren’t Breast Cancer

It's probably not cancer–but that doesn't mean you can ignore a lump in your breast.

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Breast Cancer – Health.com

Nine-year-old boy with cancer dies after last wish was Christmas cards

Nine-year-old boy with cancer dies after last wish was Christmas cardsA nine-year-old boy with cancer died after his wish for an early Christmas celebration was fulfilled. Jacob Thompson’s family announced that the young boy died at the Maine Medical Center in Portland on Sunday. Last month, Jacob said his last wish was to receive Christmas cards to celebrate his last holiday, and his story quickly went viral.



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College Student with Breast Cancer Underwent Treatment Without Missing a Single Class

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

Colleen Cappon’s senior year of college was different than most. While she lived in an apartment with her friends, stayed up late doing homework and went to parties on campus, the then 21-year-old had another side of her life that made her very different from the average college student.

Every other weekend, she left school to drive two hours from campus to her hometown of Watertown, New York, where she would undergo chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer.

Just weeks before Cappon began her senior year at the State University of New York at Cortland in 2007, she was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer. That summer, while she was getting ready for a night out with friends, doing what she calls the “boob scoop” into her bra, she felt a lump in her breast. A bit alarmed but not overly concerned, Cappon thought she should see a doctor just in case. At her subsequent doctor’s appointment, she had an ultrasound done. The doctor told her it was likely just a fibroadenoma — a mass of dense cells. She recommended that when Cappon came back over winter break, she get the mass removed.

But something felt off to Cappon, and she thought, “Why wait until Christmas?” She still had a month to go before heading back to school, so she decided to have it removed. “I can’t really explain it,” she tells PEOPLE of her gut instinct.

The mass was removed and then tested per standard procedure. And as she soon found out, Cappon’s instincts might have saved her life: The test revealed she had breast cancer.

At the time of her diagnosis, Cappon, who is now 31 and living in Albany, New York, was set to start her senior year of college. She had her class schedule, her lease signed on an apartment with friends and she didn’t want to give up that experience.

But she had to start treatment — and the sooner, the better. So Cappon devised a plan with her doctors. Every other Thursday night, she’d drive the two-hour distance from campus to her parents’ house. On Friday, she’d undergo chemotherapy, spending the rest of the weekend at home to recover before heading back to school on Sunday evening.

“I’m a very social person,” she says of her choice to stay in school while undergoing chemotherapy. “I knew if I missed out on this, it was not going to be good for my mental health during my treatments. And they say that’s the half of it, the attitude and positive environment and everything.”

She spoke with each of her professors about the situation, and confirmed with her academic advisor that she’d be able to schedule her classes on Monday through Thursday. Everyone was supportive, she says, and professors told her not to stress about deadlines and assignments — they’d be happy to accommodate any schedule changes she needed. But Cappon didn’t want to be accommodated: She made it through her whole senior year without missing a single class or assignment.

“I’m such a stubborn person, and it kind of pissed me off that this was even happening in the first place, so I made it a point to be like, ‘No, I’m not going to miss any classes. I’m not going to miss any exams, I’m going to do all my homework assignments,'” she said. “And I did.”

Though she was making frequent trips home each month for chemotherapy, Cappon was able to retain much of her “normal life” at school, she says. She even went to parties when she was feeling up to it.

Cappon finished her four months of chemotherapy in December 2007. That same month, she underwent a double mastectomy, an experience that turned more emotional than she was expecting. She went on to have reconstructive surgery in May 2008.

“I almost had been looking forward to [the mastectomy], because after all this treatment, and having cancer, I was like, ‘I can’t wait to get rid of this part of my body that had the cancer in it, and I’m going to feel so much better,’ ” she says. “And a big part of me did feel better after the surgery, but there’s also a big part that feels almost a little resentful. Especially at 21 years old. Let’s be real, your breasts look the best they’re ever going to look, and I’m getting rid of them.”

But for Cappon, the timing of her diagnosis wasn’t the hard part. In fact, she views it as something positive, despite her young age. In college, she had more time to relax and sleep than she would have had she been working a full-time job. And since she was living with her friends, there were constant distractions from the cancer.

“It was a great situation to be in, honestly,” Cappon says. “I was never alone, I didn’t have a job yet, I could nap between classes whenever I felt like it.”

What was difficult, she says, was the uncertainty that came along with getting a diagnosis that so few women her age had received. Not only was it isolating, but it came with medical hurdles, too. She consistently found questions left without an answer: Her doctors couldn’t tell her if she’d suffer common side effects, or if she’d be able to have children after her treatment was over.

“There were a lot of unanswered questions,” she says. “There were a lot of questions about the side effects. I was told one time, ‘We’re not sure if your hair is going to fall out, because you’re so young, maybe your body will react differently.’ “

Perhaps the biggest unanswered question was about her fertility. Unlike many young women with breast cancer, Cappon wasn’t able to freeze her eggs before starting treatment because of how aggressive her tumor was.

“You don’t really care or think about having kids when you’re 21, until someone says you might not be able to,” she says. “They just said, ‘We’re going to give you this treatment, and we don’t really know what your future is going to be like. Let’s just concentrate on surviving this first,’ ” she says. “I go off the medicine in January, and it’s really just a toss-up.”

It’s a tough future for a 21-year-old to face. Cappon is now married to her college boyfriend, who she was dating during her cancer treatment. She says that at the time, she was open with him about the possibility that she wouldn’t be able to have children one day, and told him that she’d understand if he ended their relationship. “In the beginning, I said, ‘I don’t know what is going to happen with this kids thing. If you want out, I understand,’ ” she says.

Her boyfriend didn’t want out, and encouraged her to go through with the double mastectomy. His support brought a level of relief to the experience, she says.

“I feel a little guilty about it sometimes, because I had a boyfriend throughout the whole time that was encouraging me to do everything I could to make sure I came alive out on the other side of this,” she says. “Other young women who don’t have a serious boyfriend and are out in the dating world, who’ve had mastectomies, that has to be really tough, and weigh on your decision to get the surgery.”

Almost 10 years later, they’re hoping to start a family in the near future and they’re discussing her going off the drug Tamoxifen, which she has been on for the past decade in hopes of reducing the risk of the cancer coming back. For the first time, having a family is a real possibility within sight. Whether she’ll be able to, however, is unknown. She’s still not sure if she’ll be able to have children once she’s off the medication. She was one of the first women her age to go on the drug for a 10-year period, she says, and was told back in 2007 that they’d simply have to wait and see if it would affect her ability to have children.

“Again, more uncertainty,” she says. “But at least I’m here.”

In the years since her first post-chemo and surgery screening showed no evidence of cancer in May 2008, Cappon has connected with many other young women with breast cancer, something that she says has been “really rewarding.”

“I remember really clearly when I was diagnosed feeling like there was no one I could find at my age who had done this and came out okay on the other side, leading a healthy, normal life,” she says. “You’ve just gotta keep your chin up and remember you’re going to come out on the other side.” 


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Breast Cancer – Health.com

Breast Cancer May Return Even 20 Years Later, Researchers Find

Breast Cancer May Return Even 20 Years Later, Researchers FindBreast cancer can “smolder” and return even 20 years later unless patients keep taking drugs with debilitating side effects to suppress it, researchers reported.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Mother writes one last letter to her daughter before dying from kidney cancer

Mother writes one last letter to her daughter before dying from kidney cancerBefore Hannah Summers' mother passed on Tuesday, she wrote her daughter a letter to bring her comfort — and now it's doing the same for strangers around the world.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

22-Year-Old Woman Discovers Breast Cancer Lump After Dropping Necklace Down Her Shirt

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

When Leslie Almiron discovered a lump in her breast in 2016, it was by accident. The pendant on her necklace had fallen off and landed in her bra. When the then 22-year-old reached in to retrieve it, she felt her hand brush up against something. At first, she didn’t think much of it and hopped in the shower. But while she was showering, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. So she felt around again, and this time, she couldn’t deny that there a lump.

Almiron immediately called her mom and asked her what to do. Her mother wasn’t too concerned — after all, Almiron was only 22 — but she suggested she call her doctor to make sure. The doctor wasn’t very worried either, considering her age and history, but advised her to come in.

That initial doctor’s visit led to an ultrasound and then a recommendation to make an appointment with a breast surgeon. But even then, the idea that it could be cancer didn’t weight too heavily on Almiron’s mind. Her doctor didn’t even mention the word, she says.

“Now that I think about it, it did take a long time,” Almiron, now 24, tells PEOPLE of the ultrasound. “But I was just completely unaware of what was going on. I was just laying on the table, perfectly fine.”

The thought that the lump could be cancerous didn’t occur to Almiron until she was getting it biopsied, and she saw the physician assistant’s face go white as she took a closer look. But they couldn’t tell her if it was cancer until her official test results came back the following week.

“I spent the whole weekend borderline freaking out, and then thinking there was just no way that this could happen,” she says.

The following week, she got the call: It was cancer — stage 3 — and they needed her to come in as soon as possible for more tests. Almiron went on to undergo chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy.

Almiron’s diagnosis at such a young age may be rare, but it’s far from unheard of. Though typically associated with older women, about 70,000 women and men under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, according to the Young Survival Coalition. And every year, the disease kills 1,000 women in the same age group — a lower survival rate compared to those over 40. Young women generally face more aggressive cancers and lower survival rates, and evidence suggests that breast cancer before age 40 differs biologically from the cancer faced by older women.

With these cases comes unique challenges. Jennifer Merschdorf, the CEO of the Young Survival Coalition (who herself was diagnosed with breast cancer at 36, the same year her mother was diagnosed at 66), says the organization’s goal is to help young women navigate these obstacles.

“Young women are starting or in the full swing of their careers,” Merschdorf tells PEOPLE. “They’re starting families. That’s very different than older women.”

The decision to get a mastectomy at such a young age is all the more difficult, and many women go into early menopause, according to Merschdorf.

For many women, the question of fertility and children is “huge” when they get a breast cancer diagnosis, Merschdorf says. Particularly if a woman hasn’t had children or isn’t even sure if she wants them in the future.

Almiron says she hadn’t given much thought to whether she wanted children prior to her diagnosis. So when her doctor suggested freezing her eggs, she was overwhelmed.

“I’m just freaking out,” she says. “I’m thinking ‘I have cancer, I’m not going to live to have children. Why do you want me to do this?’ “

Almiron had been with her boyfriend for four years, but they had just graduated college and were looking for their first jobs and hadn’t seriously spoken about children.

“I had to call him and say, ‘Hey, I have to freeze my eggs. Do you think you’re going to love me forever? Should we do embryos?’ ” she recalls. “That’s just a conversation I don’t need to be having at 22.”

At her doctor’s encouragement, Almiron ended up going forward with the egg preservation, and within days, she was getting hormone injections. She was able to freeze 26 eggs before she started her treatment.

There may be about 70,000 new cases every year, but finding fellow young people living with breast cancer is tough. Especially for those who live outside of an urban area. And though support groups for breast cancer patients exist all over the country, if they’re filled with older woman, it often can make a young patient feel isolated.

Once, when Almiron was checking into to a support group, the leader told her to wait outside for her mom, assuming she was the daughter of a patient, not a patient herself.

“She eventually stopped going after she says she realized “this just isn’t going to make me feel better.”

Comfort can be found in organizations that are geared towards those living with cancer who are in their age group. The Young Survival Coalition hosts an annual conference called the National Summit for survivors to come and meet one another. And Almiron met fellow young cancer survivors through a group called Stupid Cancer, where she made immediate connections with survivors her own age.

 

“We clicked right away, and it’s a friendship that you’d think we would have been friends for years,” she says of one of the friends she made through Stupid Cancer. “It’s like, ‘I know exactly what you’ve been through.’ “

And for young women, financial and logistical problems that come with a cancer diagnosis can be even more pronounced. As Merschdorf says: “It’s not like in your twenties you’ve saved this huge nest egg that you can use to offset these huge medical expenses.”

For Almiron, who is a DACA recipient, the ability to pay her medical bills presented its own problems. Before getting her first job a year before her diagnosis, she didn’t have health insurance. And because she had no way to get insurance without a job, she had to continue working while she was going through treatment. The only time she took off was when she was recovering from her double mastectomy, and was, in her words “flat broke.”

“I couldn’t afford to get kicked off my insurance,” she says. “It was like, ‘Tough luck, you have to deal with it.’ And that was my attitude. I have to go to work bald, sweating and in pain. It sucks.”

She credits DACA for saving her life: “If I had been diagnosed two years before when I didn’t have insurance, I don’t know what I would have done.”

When asked what she would want a young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer to know, Almiron says, “It gets better.”

“The finish line will move, and it’s going to change, and it’s not going to be over when you think it’s over, or when you want it to be over, but there is an end,” Almiron says. “It’s coming. Just hang in there.”


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Breast Cancer – Health.com

5 Things to Know About Tamoxifen, the Breast Cancer Drug Jill Goodacre Has Been Taking Since Her Surgery

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In this week’s issue of People, former Victoria’s Secret model Jill Goodacre opens up about her five-year battle with breast cancer and the medication she’s been on to keep the disease at bay. Goodacre, who’s married to singer and actor Harry Connick Jr., went through surgery and radiation in 2012 after a tumor was detected via sonogram, and has taken the drug tamoxifen ever since.

As she approaches her five-year cancer-free mark, Goodacre says she’s looking forward to stopping tamoxifen. The medication can cause side effects, including weight gain, which Goodacre admits she’s struggled with.

“I’ve always been a pretty fit person, and so to be just rounder and heavier and not to really be able to do much about it—that’s been hard,” she told People. “It’s taken a lot out of my self-confidence.”

That’s a common problem among breast cancer survivors, says Nikita Shah, MD, medical director of the Cancer Risk Evaluation Program at Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center. (Dr. Shah has not treated Goodacre, but does prescribe tamoxifen to many of her own patients.)

Still, tamoxifen can be lifesaving, says Dr. Shah, and for many women, its benefits outweigh its potential side effects. Here’s what else breast cancer patients and their loved ones should know about the pros and cons of this treatment.

It can be a treatment or a prevention

Tamoxifen is in a class of drugs known as selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMs. These drugs work by attaching to estrogen receptors in breast cells, blocking estrogen’s ability to cause cell mutations that lead to cancer.

The drug—taken as a pill or a liquid—is often prescribed to pre-menopausal women after surgery for early-stage breast cancer. Because surgeons can’t always be sure they removed all of the cancer cells, tamoxifen can reduce the risk that those leftover cells will continue to multiply and the cancer will return.

It can also be prescribed to women, pre- or post-menopause who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer, if they have a high risk (1.67% or higher) of developing it over the next five years. These women are usually 35 or older, and have risk factors such as a family history of cancer or a history of abnormal biopsies.

RELATED: The 5 Breast Cancer Stages, Explained

It’s only effective for some types of cancer

Studies have shown that tamoxifen can reduce the risk of cancer in high-risk women by more than 30%. But because the drug affects estrogen receptors in the body, it only works against cancers that are estrogen-receptor-positive or progesterone-receptor positive. Together, these make up about two-thirds of all breast cancers, according to BreastCancer.org.

“The way tamoxifen works is you’re depriving your cancer cells of estrogen, which is their nutrition,” says Dr. Shah. “So that will only work for the cancers that are estrogen-fed or progesterone-fed.”

RELATED: 25 Breast Cancer Myths Busted

Other factors can affect how well it works, too

Some people have an abnormal version of an enzyme called CYP2D6, which may make tamoxifen less effective. (Some research has suggested this, although larger, more recent studies haven’t found a link.) Patients may want to consider being tested for this enzyme abnormality before starting tamoxifen, to make sure they’ll get the full benefit.

Certain medications, including diphenhydramine (Benadryl), cimetidine (Tagamet), and some antidepressants can also block the activity of the CYP2D6 enzyme. "That's why it's very important to make sure your oncologist knows every medication you're taking, including supplements," says Dr. Shah. 

Five years is recommended, but 10 years may be better

After breast cancer treatment, most women who take tamoxifen take it for five years. But recent studies have suggested that it can reduce women’s risk for breast cancer even further if it’s taken for 10 years, says Dr. Shah.

However, tamoxifen is only recommended after breast cancer treatment for women who haven’t gone through menopause yet; after menopause, other drugs—called aromatase inhibitors—are known to work better. “If a woman becomes post-menopausal during those five or 10 years she’s on tamoxifen, we will switch her to this other group of drugs that is 20 to 25% more effective,” says Dr. Shah.

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It does have side effects—but they may be overestimated

Despite its protective effects against cancer, some women stop taking tamoxifen because of side effects like hot flashes, mood swings, nausea, vomiting, or weight gain or loss. The drug can cause menstrual irregularities, and changes in sex drive or sleep patterns as well. (Tamoxifen also raises the risk for more serious health issues, like blood clots and uterine cancer; though for most women, the overall risk for these problems is still small.)

But many women who take tamoxifen are perimenopausal, and a recent study found that some women mistake naturally occurring symptoms of menopause with side effects of tamoxifen. In the study, symptom-related drop-out rates were similar across a nearly five-year period for women who took tamoxifen and for those who took a placebo pill.

“Patients will say I started taking tamoxifen and I gained 40 pounds,” says Dr. Shah. “But that’s probably a combination of hormonal and lifestyle changes they’re going through. Tamoxifen can cause some fluid retention, and it could maybe cause a 2- or 3-pound weight gain, but beyond that there are probably other things going on as well.”

Dr. Shah says it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing side effects, rather than stopping a recommended course of tamoxifen. “There are ways to manage the side effects, and most of them are not permanent. They get better with time,” she says.


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Breast Cancer – Health.com

Harry Connick Jr. on Supporting Wife Jill Goodacre Amid Cancer Fight: ‘She’s the Most Beautiful Woman in the World’

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

Even after 23 years of marriage, Harry Connick Jr. still gazes at Jill Goodacre like a lovestruck teen.

“She’s my best friend, and I really don’t know what I would do without her,” the actor, multiplatinum recording artist and host of the daytime talk show, Harry, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue as he and his wife reveal her five-year battle with breast cancer.

“I was scared I was going to lose her, absolutely,” says Connick Jr., 50, whose mother died of ovarian cancer when he was 13. “I wasn’t going to let her see that, but I was. I know from losing my mom that the worst can happen.”

In October 2012 — breast cancer awareness month — Goodacre was diagnosed with Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma and immediately underwent a lumpectomy, which didn’t come back with clean margins.

Pathology tests showed she also had extensive ductal carcinoma in situ, a less invasive form of the disease. She went in for a second surgery the next day and has been taking Tamoxifen, an estrogen modulator taken in pill form that helps prevent the development of hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, for the last five years.

“It threw me right into menopause,” Goodacre, 53, says of the medication, which can have difficult side effects. “And then there was the weight gain.”

As someone who once had a career built on posing in lingerie and swimsuits, former Victoria’s Secret model Goodacre has found herself in a size and shape she had never before experienced. (The drug can lead to weight gain, particularly in the midsection, a side effect with the dreaded nickname Tamoxifen Tummy.)

“I’ve always been a pretty fit person, and so to be just rounder and heavier and not to really be able to do much about it — that’s been hard,” she admits. “It’s taken a lot out of my self-confidence.”

Connick Jr. understands her struggles.

“It’s not silly and it’s not vain,” he explains. “It’s a part of how the cancer and the treatment impacted her, and it was a real issue, even though she will always be the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Connick Jr. met Goodacre at a party in 1990, at the height of her modeling career, when he was best known as New Orleans-bred big band crooner who repopularized Gershwin on the soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally.

They wed four years later, and today share a cozy, converted barn in a quiet Connecticut town with their daughters Georgia, 21, Sara Kate, 20 (who goes by Kate), and Charlotte, 15.

“I think one of the reasons we’ve lasted this long is that we’re so aligned in every way,” he says. “We have the same morals, the same goals.”

“Everything that he values, I value so much too,” she adds. “And our family has always been the most important.”

Now, as she approaches the five-year mark of remission, Goodacre is looking forward to stopping Tamoxifen soon and preparing to tell the world what few outside her family knew.

On Thursday’s episode of Harry, the couple will candidly discuss her cancer journey and the moment she was diagnosed — “It’s one of the hardest days of my life,” she recalls — in a heart-to-heart discussion.

As for her husband? He still has the same hope he did after their very first encounter.

“I knew as soon as I met her that I wanted to grow old with her,” he says. “I’m so grateful that I still can.”

Harry airs weekdays (check local listings or visit HarryTV.com).


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Breast Cancer – Health.com

Jill Goodacre’s Cancer Was Undetected on a Mammogram. Here’s What Having Dense Breasts Means

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In the latest issue of People, Jill Goodacre, a former Victoria’s Secret model and the wife of recording artist and talk show host Harry Connick Jr., opened up about her breast cancer diagnosis five years ago this month. When a routine mammogram came back clear, she was sent for additional testing, Goodacre recalls: “They said, ‘Okay, looks good. Since you have dense breasts, just go across the hall for your sonogram.’” The ultrasound detected a suspicious spot; and after a biopsy, the 53-year-old mom of three learned she had stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma. Today Goodacre is approaching five years in remission.

So what does it mean to have dense breasts—and can dense breasts raise your risk of cancer? Breast density is a measure of how much of the breast is made of fatty tissue, and how much is comprised of glands, ducts, and other non-fatty, fibrous tissue. Dense breasts contain less fatty tissue.

RELATED: The 5 Breast Cancer Stages, Explained

While that sounds relatively straightforward, it can be tricky to determine if you have dense breasts. (You can't feel dense breast tissue.) Doctors can only tell on a mammogram. Fatty breast tissue appears dark, while denser tissue looks white.

Tumors also appear white on mammograms, which is why it's easier for cancer to go undetected if you have dense breasts. Having dense breasts is also thought to slightly increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, though experts haven’t yet figured out why exactly.

For those reasons, experts have historically recommended that women with dense breasts get additional screening after a mammogram, such as an ultrasound or MRI. Newer research suggests, however, that many women with dense breasts might not need those extra tests. According to the National Cancer Institute, other risk factors for breast cancer should be taken into consideration before sending a woman for additional screening.

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You can have dense breast tissue at any age, although breasts typically lose density as a woman gets older. Don’t worry too much if you have dense breasts–about half of women do! Just make sure you talk to your doctor about any family history of breast cancer, other risk factors, and the best method of screening for you. And be sure to become familiar with how your breasts normally feel so you can detect any changes that crop up.

RELATED: After 3 of My Family Members Died of Breast Cancer, I Got a Double Mastectomy at 25 

Goodacre needed two surgeries, radiation, and treatment with tamoxifen, a type of hormone therapy that reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence in some patients. “The doctors all say that after the five-year mark, things look optimistic,” she told People, “so we’re starting to feel pretty good.”


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Breast Cancer – Health.com

Harry Connick Jr. and Wife Jill Goodacre Open Up About Her Secret 5-Year Battle with Breast Cancer

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

Five years ago, Harry Connick Jr.‘s world changed forever.

In October 2012, the multiplatinum recording artist, host of the daytime talk show Harry and actor’s wife, Jill Goodacre, had a routine annual mammogram that came back clear.

“They said, ‘Okay, looks good. Since you have dense breasts, just go across the hall for your sonogram,’ ” Goodacre, 53, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. But during the sonogram, something was detected. After undergoing a biopsy, Goodacre received the harrowing news — during breast cancer awareness month — that she had Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma and would need to immediately undergo a lumpectomy, followed by radiation.

“I was scared I was going to lose her, absolutely,” says Connick Jr., 50, whose mother died of ovarian cancer when he was 13. “I wasn’t going to let her see that, but I was. I know from losing my mom that the worst can happen. She’s my best friend, and I really don’t know what I would do without her.”

For Goodacre, one of the hardest parts of her cancer battle was telling the couple’s three daughters — Georgia, 21, Sara Kate (who goes by Kate), 20, and Charlotte, 15 — about the diagnosis. “It broke my heart,” she shares.

Although the mother of three did not have to undergo chemotherapy, her treatment has been grueling.

“The lumpectomy didn’t come back with clean margins,” she explains. Pathology tests showed she also had extensive ductal carcinoma in situ, a less invasive form of the disease. “So I had to go in for a second surgery the very next day. And then radiation absolutely wiped me out. And since then there’s been the Tamoxifen, which I’ve now been taking for five years.”

Tamoxifen, an estrogen modulator taken in pill form that helps prevent the development of hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, can have difficult side effects, including weight gain, which Goodacre — a former Victoria’s Secret model — has admittedly struggled with.

“I’ve always been a pretty fit person, and so to be just rounder and heavier and not to really be able to do much about it — that’s been hard. It’s taken a lot out of my self-confidence,” she says.

“It’s a part of how the cancer and the treatment impacted her, and it was a real issue, even though she will always be the most beautiful woman in the world,” adds Connick Jr.

Now, as she approaches the five-year mark of remission, Goodacre is looking forward to stopping Tamoxifen soon and preparing to tell the world what few outside her family knew.

“It wasn’t like we were superstitious, like if we said something about being in the clear we’d somehow jinx it,” Goodacre says. “But we wanted to be well on the other side of things before we told everybody. The doctors all say that after the five-year mark, things look optimistic, so we’re starting to feel pretty good.”

“It’s not something that’s just going to go away like it never happened,” adds Goodacre. “I’ll always be a little nervous, always having to get checked, always hoping it doesn’t come back.”

On Thursday’s episode of Harry, the couple will candidly discuss her cancer journey and the day she was diagnosed — “It’s one of the hardest days of my life,” she recalls — in a heart-to-heart discussion.

“All I wanted to do was grow old with you and have as many years as possible as I could with you,” Connick Jr. tells Goodacre in a PEOPLE exclusive sneak peek of the interview.

Goodacre tells him, “You always used to say that: ‘I just want to grow old with you.’ ”

“It’s true,” Connick Jr. says. “I wanted to know what you would look like older. … I made the right decision.”

Harry airs weekdays (check local listings or visit Harrytv.com).


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Breast Cancer – Health.com