When a second diagnosis revealed that Felicia’s cancer was more aggressive than originally thought, she turned to UI Health for trusted care.

When Felicia was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, she turned to UI Health. Now, thanks to a coordinated team and a thorough treatment plan, she is cancer free.

In doing research, I found out that black women are less likely to get breast cancer, but more likely to die when we get it. This may be because it is usually the more aggressive type of cancer. My goal in wanting to share is to encourage all women, and especially black women, to go and get screened early. 

I have a history of cancer in my family, therefore I’ve been getting mammograms at UI Health since my late 20s. About a year ago, they said there was an issue with my mammogram and they needed to do a biopsy.

I decided to get a second opinion, and I tested positive for Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is a type of breast cancer that is at a Stage 0 (zero), the lowest stage. I was told I would need surgery and radiation. I returned to UI Health because I had been with them for a long time, and I trusted them.

At UI Health I met with Dr. Warso, my surgical oncologist and Cathleen, my nurse navigator. Cathleen introduced me to a whole team of specialists—including my medical oncologist, Dr. Oana Danciu, the radiation oncologist, Dr. Howard and the genetics counselor, along with Dr. Hoskins, medical oncologist and director of the Familial Breast Cancer Clinic.

Cathleen took time to advise me of what each person on my team would do, and she gave me a book that explained what I would be experiencing.  Knowledge is power so in addition to being informed about my journey, I could update my family with confidence and ease their anxiety. 

When my surgical oncologist did the lumpectomy, he removed a 1.5 cm tumor. After examining, he found it was a little more serious than what we originally thought. Turns out, I had Stage 1, grade 3, triple negative breast cancer—an aggressive type of cancer. In addition, my tumor was found just outside the duct; therefore, it had a small chance of traveling to other parts of my body.

My team at UI Health shared a study with me that found that women with this type of cancer had good results with chemotherapy and radiation. Therefore, we moved forward with eight rounds of chemo and 33 days of radiation.

Throughout the process, the entire care team was very honest and informative. For every question I had, they had an answer. I went through some challenging experiences, but my care team was like a second family.  

I finished my last radiation treatment on November 13th. Afterward, I was dancing down the halls. When I was first diagnosed, it seemed like a long road, but now that I’m healing, I want to be more involved in helping others get screened. I’m thankful to God for leading me to UI Health because they caught my cancer early and I’m ok.