By: Joseline Cotté, Triple-S Health Educator

Yes, I had breast cancer at 47 years old. Five years ago, I received the news of the positive test that would change my life forever. She had no risk factors for breast cancer: no obesity, no close relatives with the disease, nor was she at an advanced age.

I am a Health Educator, and at that time, I worked as a Community Outreach Coordinator managing mammography services and preventive tests in the community for members of the Triple-S Medicaid business line. There was no person more aware of disease prevention than me. As a life joke, I felt the sting that made me realize I lumped my breast. I went through roll call in my memory, and NO, it wasn’t there when I did my monthly breast self-exam the month before.

Fear, uncertainty, sadness, and hopelessness were emotions I experienced with the breast cancer diagnosis and allowed myself to feel, but for a very short time. After the initial shock, anger prompted me to act as quickly as possible to get the uninvited visitor, a.k.a. triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma, out of my body.

I chose a bilateral mastectomy after chemotherapy treatment as a radical measure to help reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in the future. Treatment depends on the type of disease, stage at which it is diagnosed, location, tumor size, age, and general health.

There are millions of women in the world who have survived breast cancer. There is no scientific evidence that there are more cases of breast cancer before age 50. What is increasingly common is early diagnosis, fortunately.

If I can share my life experience with breast cancer, I recommend two things:

  1. Get the preventive tests (Mammogram, PAP, etc.) required by gender and age (US Preventive Service Task Force recommendations).
  2. Purchase a Triple-S Vida insurance policy with coverage for cancer and other catastrophic diseases, gives you the peace and security to focus on your treatment without additional worries.

This October, we need to do more than paint the world pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Identify a woman in your family circle or friend who has not had a mammogram and accompany her to do it.

Since I had breast cancer:

  • I don’t live in fear.
  • I enjoy life: I travel, live and celebrate.
  • I give thanks for everything.
  • I eat healthy and get physical activity.

I thank breast cancer for renewing my desire to live!