Sarah Valencia is uniquely familiar with breast cancer. Her maternal grandmother fought the disease (along with two other cancers) and ultimately passed away. Just a few years back, her mother was hospitalized, only to find out that she had a 20cm tumor in her left breast. She continues to fight the disease today.
Sarah’s experience as partial caretaker of her mother gave her the understanding that “cancer does not just touch the patient. Secondary stress is a terrible thing and I didn’t want that for my family.” It’s why Sarah took all preventative measures to avoid ever hearing a cancer diagnosis for herself. When genetic testing revealed a BRCA1 mutation, Sarah took very seriously her next steps: “women are so attached to breasts as an identity thing and because of that, I was offered medication and frequent screening, but I asked right away about surgery.” She went on to have a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. Her next surgery will be the removal of her ovaries and uterus. For Sarah, the non surgical option created stress: “I can’t add that anxiety to my life.”
While surgery and reconstruction wasn’t easy, she held strong to the fact that “at least it wasn’t cancer.” She remains so grateful for all of her family’s support during her journey and they remain her biggest motivation: “my husband and children are the reason I did this. If you can prevent it, do it.”