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You Must Be Your Own Voice and Advocate

Q&A with Sydney Cintron

We caught up with Cancer Warrior, Sydney Cintron, to learn about her journey with cancer.

Diagnosis: Stage 1 Progesterone/Estrogen Positive Breast Cancer

How did you find out you had cancer and how old were you at the time of diagnosis?

Sydney: I was 2 months shy of my 26th birthday when I found the lump in my breast.

I was laying down when I felt the lump which was hard as a rock.

Shock immediately rushed through me and began to investigate what it could be.

I went to my primary doctor who did not think it was cancer at first, but I pushed for an ultrasound to make sure.

The doctor then confirmed that it came back abnormal and sent me to see a breast surgeon. At the breast surgeon’s office, they performed a biopsy and a week later it was confirmed that I had Stage 1 Progesterone/Estrogen positive breast cancer.

What was/is your treatment protocol, if any, how long did it last or will continue to last?

Sydney: I did a bilateral mastectomy with full reconstructive surgery and had 6 lymph nodes removed on the left side of where the lump was found.

Right after my breast surgery, I was sent to do fertility treatment to preserve my eggs before moving forward with radiation.

We did 30 rounds of radiation, and I am on a 5–10-year plan with hormonal chemotherapy pills and a shot every 3 months.

What has been the greatest impact cancer has imposed on you and your life as a young adult?

Sydney: It has changed my perspective, meaning I look at the glass half full, not half empty.

Did you have any resources that helped you during your treatment? How was your support system?

Sydney: Yes, LiveStrong helped pay for my fertility storage and The Pink Fund donated a small amount of money to help pay for my treatment.

The Zoladex shot has a fund that provided me with a grant to help pay for the shots that I am currently receiving along with what my insurance covers.

The Sari Center was also another great resource that helped provide me free therapy sessions, which was very beneficial.

I had a great support system during my cancer treatment from my family and friends.

What things have you changed since your cancer diagnosis?

Sydney: I have changed my entire life since being diagnosed.

I am much more mindful and will take advantage of the opportunities offered to me.

The way I eat and how I eat. Exercising and how I exercise.

I find that I am more present because focusing on the past or present tends to give me some anxiety.

If you could share a piece of advice to someone who has been newly diagnosed with Breast Cancer, what would it be?

Sydney: I would say to slow down! I say that because everything happens so fast.

Get second or multiple opinions from doctors and/or specialists to find out what works best for you. You must be your own voice and be your own advocate and go with what you feel is best for you. Listen to your body, do breast exams, lastly, if you need help don’t be afraid to reach out.

Also, spend some time with by yourself to know what it is that you really want for yourself.

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