"I never questioned why I got cancer. I just knew I was going to beat it and that I could get through this. But I knew it was going to be a battle and it really was," said breast cancer survivor Angela Renee Taylor.
Things were going really well for Angela. It was July in 2017. Angela had just gotten back from her 50th birthday celebration.
Then she found something odd.
"I was home doing a self breast exam and I felt a lump," she said.
After a few doctors visits and tests, Angela was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.
"I got the call at about 8 a.m. and the first words were, I'm so sorry," she added.
Angela has a rich family history of breast cancer. Both of her maternal grandmothers had the BRCA 1 gene, tumor suppressor genes that prevent uncontrolled cell growth and abnormal cells from turning into cancer.
Once she found out she had the same gene, she started chemotherapy and scheduled surgeries. Angela received treatment at the Miami Cancer Institute in Plantation.
"It was highly recommended that I have a double mastectomy to reduce the chances of the breast cancer returning and then I got something called an oophorectomy," she said.
According to the American Cancer Society, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%. This means there is a 1 in 8 chance she will develop breast cancer.
According to breast medical oncologist, Dr. Charles Vogel, in 2019 19,000 patients in South Florida were diagnosed with breast cancer.
"The most important thing is that women should know their own bodies. We recommend at least once month that you just know what your own breasts feel like," said Dr. Vogel.
Once you feel a lump, Dr. Vogel recommends you schedule an appointment to see your doctor right away.
"Catching it early is a critical importance because you’re going to catch it at an earlier stage when it’s more curable," he added.
Angela’s cancer journey has been a life-changing experience. She said she hopes to inspire those who are currently fighting to stay strong.
"Cancer turned into a different person. Not that I was never a caring and compassionate person, but I'm like a mentor. I want to be able to help somebody else," said Angela.
Angela is now in remission. Her cancer journey inspired her to start the nonprofit “Artfull Angels”, which provides free financial support for the uninsured and underserved women in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
For more information on how you can get help, head to artfullangels.org.