For Lucinda, family is everything. Her family was finally complete when her second child - her daughter Audrey - came along. It was when she was weaning Audrey off breast milk that she noticed the pain. That was October 2016.
Lucinda, who was just 38 at the time, had some redness on her breast and it was sore to the touch… but there was no lump. A clogged milk duct she thought. Her doctor thought the same and sent her home with antibiotics. But the pain didn’t go away. Four months later, Lucinda was diagnosed with stage 3 Inflammatory Breast Cancer, one of the most commonly misdiagnosed cancers… because there’s often no lump.
Lucinda lives with her husband and kids in Leonardtown Maryland, 60 miles outside Washington, DC. She went to Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center for help and they immediately suggested a clinical trial. The purpose of the trial was to not overload the body with unnecessary chemo; reducing the toxic load with good results. It was an attractive prospect for a young active mom who needed to be present and available for her two young kids. However, the clinical trial was happening at Dana Farber in Boston and trial protocol required her to be there once a week for the first 20 weeks.
Lucinda wanted nothing more than to feel good and to survive, but the trial sponsor was just offering the drug. She had to get herself there and she knew that participating in the clinical trial would lead to insurmountable travel expenses that would drain the family bank account. Airfare for her and her husband, hotel bills, cab fares, child care all added up fast. One month into the clinical trial, the chemo made her feel horrible and she soon realized the expense was too great and her family simply couldn't afford it. She considered dropping out.
It was at that point she came across a Facebook post, learning about Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Lazarex said yes to Lucinda and since she reached out has been reimbursing her for 75% of her out of pocket expenses, allowing her to stay in the clinical trial.
Now, more than a year later, Lucinda has just completed the clinical trial, her kids are now 4 and 6 years old and she is considered cancer free. What’s more is because of her enrollment and the enrollment of all patients in that trial, the treatment could ultimately offer hope for millions of cancer patients.
Today Lucinda has two messages for everyone:
- You don’t have to have a lump to have breast cancer
- The only reason, she believes, she is alive today, is because Lazarex was there for her, allowing her to access the advanced treatment that saved her.
See Lucinda’s interview on WUSA9 DC about Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rare but aggressive form of locally advanced breast cancer, her clinical trial and Lazarex Cancer Foundation.