When it comes to cancer advocacy and innovation, we aren’t just talking about treatments. At CANCER FUND, our primary goal is to improve the lives of cancer patients, survivors, and at-risk populations.
People like Robyn.
Robyn had cancer in her 20’s and underwent traditional treatments including radiation. Although she was considered “cancer-free,” she was later diagnosed with a secondary cancer. This time, 21 years later, it was breast cancer. And this time, Robyn opted out of chemotherapy (due to an immune disorder) and radiation (due to prior damage to her body from radiation).
Instead, Robyn chose to have a double mastectomy. Her surgeon pressured her to follow up with reconstructive surgery, as well.
And that’s how Robyn’s story really brings to light a less-known side of the breast cancer journey. Because her focus isn’t on the diagnosis or even her treatment, but rather on what came next.
You see, Robyn, like many breast cancer survivors, underwent reconstructive surgery – she got breast implants. But that’s where her story really took a turn, as Robyn battled the debilitating symptoms of Breast Implant Illness (BII).
Many women have experienced symptoms like Robyn’s. Crippling symptoms like chronic fatigue, pain, and vertigo. Most women are told it is just a side effect of medications or chemotherapy since symptoms can also include hair loss, nausea, and skin rashes. But Robyn knew that for her that couldn’t be the case, since she wasn’t taking medication, nor had she undergone chemotherapy or radiation. So she fought to learn more. Within 7 months of her reconstructive surgery, Robyn underwent “explant” surgery – she had the implants removed.
Now, Robyn considers herself a “justice warrior,” working to educate the public and fight for laws to protect other women. “I put my health over the aesthetics of what society thinks I’m supposed to look like.”
Have you experienced breast cancer illness? Did you opt to forego reconstructive surgery? We want to hear from you in the comments!