Breast cancer survivor helps women prevail when doctors won't listen

October 11, 2018 05:47 PM

When we hear the figure one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, most think it won't be them. However, an Albany woman suspected she did have breast cancer.

How she had to persevere to get the diagnosis serves as a lesson for other women.

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Five years ago, Ann Marie Lizzi was determined to live long enough to watch her children grow up. 

"I was nursing my daughter and I felt like my breast was extra lumpy -- and for some reason, I just thought, 'I think I have breast cancer.'"

She did, but it would be 10 months before she was diagnosed. Twice, her doctor's office refused to schedule a mammogram because she was nursing, arguing that increased the risk of false positives.

When she finally prevailed with another physician, the diagnosis came within hours and treatment started immediately.

"They just wanted to hit the body as fast as possible, to treat me systemically," explained Lizzi.

WEB EXTRA -- (not seen on TV): Full interview with Ann Marie Lizzi

She endured chemo, a bilateral mastectomy and radiation, followed by treatment with the drugs Herceptin, Tamoxifen and Lupron.

As she regained her health, she became a voice for other women -- encouraging them to prevail when their doctor won't listen. She is also partnering with the American Cancer Society.

"I would like to try to get something passed that allows all women who are nursing to get mammograms -- that they're not turned away," explained Lizzi.

You'll find her at Making Strides Against Breast cancer because as she well knows, in the five years since her diagnosis, the money raised has supported great strides in research.

"Within these five years, new drugs have been approved for the type of breast cancer that I had. New immunotherapy has come out to help those in a metastatic setting who have lung involvement," pointed out Lizzi.

She knows so well that advances like that come one step at a time.

"It's important that the community comes together to raise funds to help elongate the lives of any person touched with cancer because it makes a difference," assured Lizzi.

You can take part in "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" on October 21. It will be at Washington Park.

MORE INFORMATION: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer


Benita Zahn

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