breast cancer awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness: Photoshoot with a survivor and her story

The story of Briana Silva:

I was 26 years old and it was 9 months after my son was born, while just still adjusting to life as a single mother that I was diagnosed with Breast cancer unexpectedly. I know first thought,  26?!? .

Yep, it can happen at any age,  which is why I'm such a big advocate on doing self exams, being aware of changes,  and being proactive in your health care. Mine was a near miss, that thankfully God's plan had interceded upon.

I had a small lump under my left arm pit for a few years, that I had seen a doctor for and was told it was merely ectopic breast tissue and advised to just keep watch. Well come time to begin breastfeeding my son while in the NICU I had become overly engorged to the point of my whole left axilla  (arm pit) swelling up as well requiring ice packs and such.

When I had addressed it with my ob/gyn he felt it and again reassured me it was probably just ectopic breast tissue that filled with milk with lactation and should go away. Fast forward to July 9 months later, here I was an RN who faithfully does monthly exams because of the strong family history of cancer and I had found a lump in my left breast.

I diligently  went to have it evaluated and ended up down the path of having a biopsy. While doing the ultrasound ,setting up for core needle aspiration of the lump in my breast, they had me position my left arm over my head, in doing so they asked me about the protrusion of the noticeable lump in my axilla. I explained what I had been told but that no formal ultrasound had been done.

They asked if while we were already there doing so if I wanted them to do one now. After a few minutes they stepped out to make a call. When the doctor returned he told me that he spoke with my ordering doctor and saw something worrisome, that they placed the order if I'd be willing to do the 2 biopsies since that was why I was already there, in which case I agreed.

The pathology came back benign on the lump in my breast which I originally had gone in to be biopsied and the lump that had been brushed off by 3 doctors turned out to be a malignant breast cancer tumor called DCIS. Had the tech and the doctor in the room for my biopsy not gone above the orders and advocated for me, I don't know that we would've found it so early.  I met with several doctors, surgeons, oncologists after that.

First I was told I would just need surgery with possible radiation. Then I was told I was looking at possibility of chemo and radiation depending on what pathology showed after surgery with staging.

I ended up being referred to a second opinion for a surgeon, and thank God that I did, because not only did she get me in quicker, she was more aggressive in taking out bigger margins. After surgery and pathology results came back,  I was diagnosed DCIS stage 1 breast cancer, with no lymph node involvement, after another scan and the surgeon taking out so much extra tissue during surgery,  i was told that they got it all and I didn't end up requiring the radiation, only tomaxafen an oral med to take for 5 years after.

I am so blessed that God was watching over me through all of this, calming my nerves during such a scary time, that he positioned those men to be there as my advocates the day it was found, who guided me to a new surgeon that ultimately saved me extra treatment and suffering.

We were very lucky to have found it so early, and i count my blessings daily that we did. I was a lucky one, I may not have gone through a horrific battle like so many cancer patients I take care of or know, but I'm here to be a voice and example to advocate awareness that there is no such thing as being too young or too careful when comes to cancer.

Which is why it's so important to do monthly exams. Although it was a scary time, and yearly scans/tests bring up some anxiety,  I rest peacefully with my faith in the Lord that I am healed, and that it was merely a mountain in my journey that revealed strength I didn't realize that I had when faced with real fear."

Fiona and I want to spread awareness and we wanted to do it in the only way we knew how. It is October and it is Breast Cancer Awareness month and we wanted to have a photoshoot with a survivor. One of our friends is a survivor and we went out to the Elfin Forest to shoot some photos.

Here is our photoshoot from the day. We would love to do this again.

Here are some of the photos from the day:

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MUA: Macy Ornelia Hair: Blyss Macias Photographers: Be Still Photog | Ernie Padaon | Fiona Padaon Location: Elfin Forest | San Marcos, CA

Photoshoot for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  We recently did a photoshoot for breast cancer awareness month. We went with our friend who is a survivor and we wanted to do a shoot for awareness.

We got some amazing shots that we are working on and will love to share as soon as we are ready. We will also share Briana's story in that post.

For this post, it is all about awareness. Here are some stats straight from

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2015. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
  • Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
  • About 40,290 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2015 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989. Women under 50 have experienced larger decreases. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2015, it's estimated that just under 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
  • White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women. However, in women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. The risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower in Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women.
  • In 2015, there are more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
  • About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations (abnormal changes) inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. On average, women with a BRCA1 mutation have a 55-65% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 45%. Breast cancer that is positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations tends to develop more often in younger women. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, BRCA2 mutations are associated with a lifetime breast cancer risk of about 6.8%; BRCA1 mutations are a less frequent cause of breast cancer in men.
  • About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
  • The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).

Here is one of the shots from the shoot: Be Still Photography_0178We can't wait to share more from the day.

Model: Briana Silva MUA: Macy Ornelia Hair: Blyss Macias Photographer: Be Still Photography | Ernie Padaon | Fiona Padaon Location: San Elijo