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Minority Cancer Awareness Month: About knowing your family's health history

Local breast cancer survivor shares her story
Whobrey Family
Posted at 7:04 AM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 10:04:19-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — April is National Minority Cancer Awareness Month, and one local breast cancer survivor and advocate shares her story of survival and the importance of sharing health information with your family.

Myra Whobrey is cancer free these days, but that wasn’t always the case. 10 years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it was found because of issues with her gallbladder.

"I never thought to do breast cancer exams it's not something I grew up knowing. I had a gallbladder attack and because of gallstones and getting a CT scan to check my gallbladder they caught the bottom of my right breast. It revealed that I had some suspicious lesions,” Whobrey said.

Myra’s 4-year battle came with a double mastectormy and 14 surgeries.

"I was diagnosed with stage 1A invasive breast cancer, which means it didn’t hit my lymph nodes,” Whobrey said.

Myra lost her father to melanoma skin cancer and her mother to an aneurism. Both were medical issues that the family wasn't aware of until it was too late.

Myra also says that filling out medical history forms on the day of her diagosis was an eye-opening experience, her pages were blank.

"I feel that the Hispanic culture is very private about these things. I never knew my parents' medical background or anything like that, so it was like ignorance was bliss up until this happened,” Whobrey said.

According to The American Cancer Society, cancer is the leading cause of death among the Hispanic/Latino population accounting for 21% of deaths. Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths among Latinas in the U.S.

"Even knowing about heart disease anything like that we didn’t talk about it until years later when my mother was ill, I finally was able to get some background,” Whobrey said.

Now the 45-year-old grandmother makes it a point to share as much health informaiton as possible to help preserve the future of her family, because sometimes that knowledge can mean the difference between life and death.

"I have not only talked to my children about our family history, I also kept documentation. I’m just glad to still be here, I’m going to keep advocating as much as I can. There’s always hope I’m sitting proof of it,” Whobrey said.

Visit cancer.org/get-screened for more information.

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