DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado mother did everything she was supposed to, from getting routine mammograms to eating right. But it was an extra measure that helped Victoria Martin find out she had breast cancer, and ultimately it saved her life.
“It is one thing to survive a crisis in life, it is another thing to thrive,” Victoria Martin read her introductory lines from her podcast about surviving cancer.
At 48 years old, Martin was a picture of health. She taught pilates, exercised vigorously and followed a strict diet.
“I was in the shower after a workout in March of 2018, I felt a lump.”
It was a surprising discovery because of all the work she had intentionally done to avoid diseases.
“I didn’t have much time at all,” she said.
Suddenly Martin found herself fighting to live. Her doctor says it was an aggressive form of breast cancer known as “triple negative.”
“It’s very good that she found this thing and came in early because the sooner you find it, the better, more curable it is for sure,” Dr. Dev Paul of the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center said.
Treatment called for over 20 rounds of radiation, surgery for a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy.
“You know you have your chemo session and you know that the next week is going to be worse,” Martin described.
She was motivated by her family and children, as well as others facing the same battle.
“One woman had a 5-month-old, her last Facebook post was getting milk from other nursing mothers to wean her baby because she knew she was going to pass soon,” she said.
Martin doesn’t want to see that happen again, and because of what she went through, she’s making it her mission to warn women not to dismiss a routine checkup or delay getting a lump examined.
“The fact that I had never heard of triple negative breast cancer, the fact that many nursing mothers do not know what triple negative breast cancer is — they don’t know it can hide out in a milk duct — I think it’s very important and it matters because we are women we need to be heard.”
Martin hopes, her message may just be the thing that moves people to see a doctor, and hopefully, save a life.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the death rate for survival has been falling, which means the survival rate is improving for people who have been diagnosed. The key is catching cancer before it spreads.