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Research Is the Reason My Cancer Was Caught Early
Tracy McNeal, a mom of three, shares why research is critical to helping those facing triple negative breast cancer.
Tracy McNeal remembers the morning clearly. The mother of three woke up and felt a pea-sized lump on her breast. She decided to have it checked out immediately.
“While my doctor assured me it was benign—and my initial mammogram was normal—I pushed for additional scans, which revealed the mass was breast cancer,” she said. “I later learned my disease was triple-negative, a subtype you didn’t want to have.”
With no targeted therapies for triple-negative breast cancer, the subtype is often defined by its aggressive nature and limited treatment options. Tracy underwent two surgeries and chemotherapy. She credits research and the early stage of her disease with her positive prognosis. She’s been in remission for nearly three years.
“Every school play and soccer game is a milestone I would have missed if it weren’t for research,” she said. “But more work needs to be done.”
Throughout her treatment course, she continued to live life as normally as possible for her kids. This included working out, which has always been part of her daily routine.
“I felt I was losing so much of myself,” she said describing the challenging times during her treatment. “I was determined to keep this part.”
She regularly posted her home workouts on social media. Her fitness friends--both in person and online--rallied around her, which gave her the boost she needed during her most difficult days.
“It kept me motivated. Exercise proved to be as much emotional support as it was physical,” she said.
Today, Tracy is relishing life in remission with her husband and three daughters. She decided to share her story to advocate for more research into the rare and aggressive form of the disease to prevent more women from following in her footsteps.
“I know I’m one of the lucky ones,” she said. “I feel strong and healthy – and I want more women facing triple-negative breast cancer to get this chance too. Research can make this possible.”