Carmen Hou is a vibrant 36-year-old mother to four-year-old, Evelyn.
But Carmen is facing what any young mother may call her worst nightmare.
In January 2016, six months after Carmen gave birth to Evelyn, she noticed two tiny lumps on her left breast.
“I’ll never forget that day,” Carmen says, of when test results came back confirming she had breast cancer. Her diagnosis: Stage IV.
“I called my husband right away and we both started crying. We were at a loss for words.”
Roughly a month after her diagnosis, Carmen began chemotherapy treatment. She went on to have a mastectomy and learned that the chemotherapy may not have been effective.
She then consented to BC Cancer’s Personalized Onco-Genomics Program where scientists sequenced her DNA to match her to the best treatment possible for her cancer.
Today, Carmen nears the three-year mark of being on a trial drug that’s kept her cancer stable. She’s been told by her doctors that many patients on the trial decline around this time in their treatment plan.
STRENGTH & OPTIMISM
One in eight Canadian women develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Carmen’s cancer is not hereditary and she does not carry a gene mutation. Breast cancer most commonly occurs in women aged 50-69 years old. At Carmen’s young age her case is considered rare and hard-to-treat.
“Because of my late stage diagnosis, I don’t know what the future really holds for us or how much time I have on this earth,” she said. “It’s really changed my perspective and I want to make the most out of my life and what’s important.”
Today, Carmen takes things day by day, relying on spirituality, family and friends. She’s also become an advocate for the BC Cancer Foundation’s campaign to Break Down Women’s Cancers.
To learn how you can help provide hope to women like Carmen, visit www.bccancerfoundation.com
Starting March 8, International Women’s Day, the BC Cancer Foundation is on a mission to break down breast and gynecologic cancer. Donations will drive innovation that allows BC Cancer’s world-leading scientists and clinicians to catch cancers earlier, to cure more patients and to prevent recurrence.
Right now thanks to a generous donor, Charlotte A. Salomon, QC, donations will be matched up to $50,000.