DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - About 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women with no family history of the disease. Experts say just being a woman, and growing older, are two of the biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer.
Those two words were not what Fran Hoover was expecting to hear and it's why Nov. 28, 2011 is a day she will never forget.
"I cried for about ten minutes and then I went home and we talked about it," she said, referencing her husband.
From one second to the next, breast cancer became a disease that impacts everyone else to her reality.
"There were some days, I have to be honest, that I couldn't really get out of bed," said Fran. "And, it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel."
Under the guidance of her medical team at Good Samaritan Hospital Samaritan Breast Center she underwent a lumpectomy, followed by chemo and radiation therapies, and another anti-cancer drug to treat her specific tumor. Almost one year later, she said the light at the end of that tunnel is finally shinning brighter.
"I'm kind of ready to move onto the next chapter of my life and I want to be here for that," said Fran.
She credits her yearly mammogram with finding her breast cancer early.
"I keep telling my friends and family you've got to do this," she said. "I mean, I still talk to women who have never had a mammogram. I guess they feel like what they don't know won't hurt them."
She said she drew strength from others battling the disease as well as loved ones - like her husband John, whom she calls her angel. She also said her employer, Lion, has been amazing. In a show of support, her coworkers shaved their heads when Fran lost her hair during treatment.
Her hair is growing back, and so is she said a desire to give back.
"It's taken on a special meaning to me and I want to do more than that; I want to volunteer here with cancer patients," said Fran standing in the halls of the breast center.
The journey that started Nov. 28, 2011, has lead her to that next chapter. "Through all of this, I made a decision to go part time," she said. "Because you know, the cliché, life is too short and there are other things I would like to do now and I think I will have the time to do that!"
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