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2011 survivor profile: Barbara Williams-Darby

“Doing a self-examination saved my life.” - Barbara

“Doing a self-examination saved my life.” - Barbara Williams-Darby

No one wants to hear the news that they have breast cancer, and Barbara Williams-Darby was no different. But in the six years since she was diagnosed with the disease, she has found an inner strength that has made her life richer and more joyful than ever before.

“I used to be fearful of so many things,” says Williams-Darby. “Now, instead of saying ‘I can’t, I say ‘Yes I can.’ I got through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and I now know I can do anything—even flying, which used to terrify me.”

The mother of three, who was only 42 when she was diagnosed, is a huge advocate of breast self-examination. “My doctor said that I was very lucky that I found the lump so early,” she says. “It was only 1.2 centimeters, and she told me she usually removes this type of cancer at 5 or 6 centimeters.”

Williams-Darby also encourages patients to look into all possible treatment options, including volunteering in clinical trials. She was the 7,000 participant in a North Shore/LIJ study designed to discover if shutting down the ovaries plus giving tamoxifen is better at preventing the return of breast cancer than just giving tamoxifen alone in premenopausal women. “I was part of the program for five years, and today I’m happy to say that I’m feeling well and doing great!”

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