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Young Nurse and Mother Stresses Diligence, Awareness After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Publication: KEYE-TV (CBS, Austin)

AUSTIN, Texas (KEYE) — A young, Central Texas nurse and mother is sharing her battle with breast cancer after she was diagnosed last year, in her mid-30s, with no family history of the disease.

Amy Woods is a mom, wife and nurse at St. David’s Georgetown Hospital—and she’s had a whirlwind of a year. After finding a lump in her breast she assumed it probably had to do with breastfeeding. She mentioned it to her doctor who wasn’t worried but she and her husband didn’t let it go.

“My doctor decided he would order an ultrasound just to clear the air,” recalls Woods, RN, BSN, Maternal Services with St. David’s.

She recalls feeling awkward taking things a step further since she was young and breast cancer wasn’t in her family history.

“When I went to the appointment they were like... why is she here for a mammogram? We don't do it on women who are 36 years old,” she says. However, days later her worry became reality and Woods was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

“It was kind of a gnarly form of cancer. I would have to lose my hair, go through 20 weeks of chemotherapy and then decide to have surgery,” says Woods.

“This type of cancer tends to be a more aggressive cancer. It can grow more rapidly than our typical breast cancers,” explains Bridget O’Brien, M.D. and Breast Surgical Oncologist at Texas Oncology and St. David’s Georgetown Hospital. According to O’Brien, Triple Negative Breast Cancer tends to be more common in younger women who are not yet getting mammograms and chemotherapy can have varying levels of efficacy.

However, O’Brien says doctors are making great strides in treating various breast cancer diagnoses.

“I'm really excited about the research done in the last several years for breast cancer. It has allowed us to do less invasive surgery and have better outcomes,” she explains.

Woods opted for multiple surgeries including a double mastectomy and reconstruction—procedures that were briefly delayed by COVID-19 surgery restrictions.

“At the time it was like my whole world was coming crashing down,” she recalls. Woods adds she’s grateful for the team of doctors who developed a plan to aggressively treat the disease.

Dr. O’Brien encourages people to remember breast cancer is sporadic—impacting one in eight women—and often patients will not have a family history of breast cancer.

“Please do your due diligence in checking every month to make sure nothing's changed also paying attention to the skin and nipple to ensure there are no changes there either,” says Dr. O’Brien.

As far as they’re concerned, Woods’ cancer is gone but she know s it could come back. She calls herself a realist and an optimist and says she’s focusing on her family -- husband Ben and sons Holden and Tate-- as her “drive to survive.”

Woods’ advice to other women – especially young women—is to always advocate for yourself.

“Don’t be scared to look into things that you're concerned about and don't let anyone downplay those concerns,” she says.

Click here to watch the full story.

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