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After Long Road, Breast Cancer Survivor and Star Stylist Sees Hope Through Research

By BCRF | February 2, 2016

Two-time survivor and longtime BCRF supporter Ann Caruso shares her story

Fashion stylist and consultant, Ann Caruso has gained recognition in the fashion industry for her refined and classic sensibilities, as well as the iconic images she creates in collaboration with some of the world’s most esteemed artists.  As a stylist to some of the most fashionable faces, Ann Caruso knows how to handle pressure. This fact rings true outside the fashion world as well. Within the past nine years, she was diagnosed with breast cancer twice.

“I was 41 and when I heard the words 'you have breast cancer,’ it was just really scary. You really just don't know what to do,” Caruso said recalling her first diagnosis.

After her initial diagnosis she underwent a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and endocrine therapy. Throughout that time, she experienced several complications leading to numerous surgeries. Five years later, her cancer returned. She underwent radiation therapy followed by more surgeries.

“All in all I've had 15 surgeries on my breasts and I've had my ovaries removed,” she said. “You know, it's been a long nine years.”

Caruso quickly learned that personal vigilance is key to any diagnosis. She sought multiple medical opinions making sure she was comfortable in whatever treatment path she decided to take. Tending to her diagnosis became her second fulltime job.

“As a two-time cancer survivor I think it's really important to be your own advocate, to trust your gut. If you feel like something's wrong with your body then you need to trust that,” she said.

During treatment, remission and recovery, Caruso leaned on her family, friends and her passion for her job to keep her going.

“I wanted to make sure I was doing things I enjoyed and was around people that I loved,” Caruso said recalling her mindset throughout her treatment. “I think it's important to do what makes you happy and what gives you that drive to stay present in life.”

A renowned celebrity stylist, Caruso has worked with Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Hurley and Taraji P. Henson, as well as styling George Clooney’s family for his Venice nuptials. During her diagnosis and treatment, where at times she felt her worst, Caruso relied on her talents to lift her up.

“I know my body kept changing because of the treatments. It just did. I think that finding things that looked good on me and just trial and error really helped,” she said.  

Her cancer experience inspired her to become a BCRF supporter. Along with supporting BCRF’s Hot Pink Party for many years, Caruso has also styled Elizabeth Hurley, the Global Ambassador of The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign.

After nearly nine years since her initial diagnosis, she has personally witnessed how new scientific developments are directly changing how cancer is being treated and understood.

“I've noticed that research has changed from the first time I had cancer to the second time. I am eternally grateful to these researchers who are working every single day to find a cure for this,” she said.