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What It's Like To: Battle Cancer and Save Your Dad's Life

Amy Rosenberg: One morning I noticed a lump on my right breast, and I didn’t think much about it. I wasn’t worried. “I’m 27, there’s no way this is cancer.” I started Googling “breast soreness” and the medication I was taking. It said breast soreness is one of the biggest side effects. So I kind of chalked it up to that. I watched it for a month, and the tenderness went away but the lump didn’t change at all. After an ultrasound, mammogram, and a biopsy, I found out that it was a triple negative stage 2 cancer, a very aggressive breast cancer. What I ended up having is the BRCA1 mutation. That guided my treatment because I was told there’s a 70 percent chance it could come back in the other breast if I did a single mastectomy rather than a double. That made the decision for me.

When I found that I had the BRCA1 mutation, Hoag offered genetic testing to my immediate family. My brother came back positive for this BRCA1 mutation as well. Mom went in, and she was negative. So at that point, my dad knew he was positive. I was like, Dad, you’ve got to go get it done so that you can be monitored.

Ken Rosenberg: When I came back positive, I was remorseful and feeling guilty about giving my baby girl the BRCA mutation and causing her the breast cancer. It’s nobody’s fault, but still, as a father, you have your daughter there who’s going to have to go through all kinds of things to heal. Every time I’d see her in the chair getting her chemo, it bothered me. She was a trooper. She was always positive. Always had a smile on her face.

Because of my age, I was enrolled in the hospital’s pancreatic cancer early detection program and had an endoscopy. The doctors found a tumor on the pancreas, and they set me up with a surgeon to get it removed.

If it hadn’t been for Amy, I don’t know if I would be here or not. I’m the kind of person, like most guys, who doesn’t go to the doctor unless there’s blood coming out my ears. So when I went in and had the test, they caught it so early, it was easy to remove. They checked all the lymph nodes around and everything was clean. I didn’t need radiation; I didn’t need chemo.

AR: If it weren’t for me being diagnosed and him getting tested and into this program, he would have never caught it until he started having symptoms, and it would have been too late. Everything happens for a reason. We have a special bond over this.

KR: Yes, we have that bond. On one side, I feel guilty for giving it to her. On the other side, she basically saved my life. And both of us have our lives. As we say, she took one for the team.

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