Alicia Lewis – Breast Cancer Success Story

Don’t give up

How a young woman found the support to overcome breast cancer

Alicia Lewis – Breast Cancer Success StoryAlicia Lewis once confided to her boyfriend (now husband), George, “I’ve always felt that there’d be something that would change me, that I could tell people, ‘I went through this and now I’m here.’?”

She just never imagined that that “something” would be breast cancer — diagnosed at age 29, no less.

“I’ve learned cancer does not discriminate,” she says. “You can be 5, you can be 55, you can be 29. It doesn’t care.”

But fortunately for Alicia, when she found the lump by her right breast in early 2013, there were many people who did care, including the team at Texas Oncology – Methodist Charlton Cancer Center.

A positive attitude

How a young woman found the support to overcome breast cancer Alicia Lewis, here with her husband, George,
didn't let a cancer diagnosis defeat her. "Think
of me as the woman who beat cancer," she says.

Alicia was referred to Lakshmi Kannan, MD, hematologist, and oncologist at Texas Oncology.

Because the stage II tumor was fast growing, Dr. Kannan prescribed two cycles of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before breast surgery.

“We see a lot of women like Alicia who have no real first-degree family history with breast cancer, and we’re seeing breast cancer at a younger and younger age,” Dr. Kannan says. “My youngest patient yet was 20.”

Alicia’s loved ones, co-workers, and care team rallied to motivate her throughout her treatment’s physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges.

The “best thing ever” was the blue coconut snow cone with “a splash of banana” that her mom brought her after each treatment.

And George reassured her with his words, his presence, and his commitment, best demonstrated when he proposed to Alicia at her birthday party that September.

Guard your body

On Oct. 24, Alicia’s journey to beating cancer continued with a double mastectomy and breast-conserving reconstructive surgery at Methodist Charlton Medical Center.

Life after cancer has had its challenges, but Alicia is grateful that she found the lump when she did. Dr. Kannan adds that one-third of her breast cancer patients found their cancers through a self-exam.

“I think it’s very important for all women to be aware of their bodies and be aware of anything outside the norm at all times,” Dr. Kannan says.

A true overcomer

George and Alicia married on May 3.

“Throughout my treatment, George said, ‘If you won’t give up, I won’t give up,’” Alicia says. “So in my vows, I said: ‘I promise not to give up. I won’t give up on you, I won’t give up on me, and I won’t give up on us.’”

The pink ribbon tattoo on her forearm is a reminder of these commitments — and of how far she has come.

“Don’t think of me as the girl who had cancer,” she says. “Think of me as the woman who beat cancer.”