Local breast cancer patient shares survival story

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - South Florida woman who is living with breast cancer said regular checking may have saved her life.

Xiomary Pena never thought she’d hear the words, “You have cancer.”

“I really don’t have none of this in my family at all, nothing,” Pena said. “I’m the first one in my family.”

Pena was stunned. She regularly checked herself and one day, alone, she felt something she knew wasn’t right.

“I didn’t know exactly what to look for, but I noticed that lump wasn’t the same that I had all the time,” Pena said.

Breast cancer specialists said she did the right thing, immediately making an appointment.

“Sometimes women are scared when they feel a lump,” Dr. Sayeh M. Lavasani said. “They just delay seeking medical attention because they’re afraid of the diagnosis.”

Pena began treatment, something she said was anything but easy.

“Not having no energy, not being able to walk. Sometimes you’re so weak,” Pena said. “Some people can go and take chemo and go to work and everything. I couldn’t. There were times for me that I couldn’t even make three steps. I couldn’t take three steps. I thought I was going to fall … It takes me about a week and nine days to get through.”

Doctors said options for women are improving. But while treatment has greatly advanced in the past decade, early detection is key for a full recovery.

“Every day we are getting to know new drugs and new targeted therapies are coming to market. They are being approved by the FDA,” Lavasani said.

Friday night, Xiomary celebrated a fresh start. She just finished her final round of chemotherapy.

“I feel good,” she said. “It gives me a smile.”

Pena, now a survivor, had a message for other cancer patients. “Just keep going forward. You cannot just give up. I think being positive is number one,” she said.

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