Before Moira Squires turned 37 in 2016, the registered nurse and mother of two thought breast cancer could "never happen" to her. "I said to myself, 'I'm young, healthy and in my 30s; I'm never going to get breast cancer," recalled Moira, who has no family history of the disease.
That same year, though, the Southampton resident learned she had triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive and fast-growing form of the disease that had spread to her lymph nodes. "I remember going into my bedroom and crying," said Moira, now 40. "I felt like all the air was sucked out of me and I thought, 'This can't be my life.'"
Within two weeks, she had begun an eight-week course of chemotherapy that caused her to lose her hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and fingernails. Surgeons performed a mastectomy on her 37th birthday. Her treatment concluded with five weeks of radiation.
It's been three years since Moira's diagnosis and she is cancer-free. She credits her strong faith, family and the support of advocacy groups, such as the Southampton Hospital's Coalition for Women's Cancers and Southampton-based Lucia's Angels with helping her survive her breast cancer journey.
Her ordeal taught her that paying attention to bodily symptoms and being proactive are key to maintaining health. "If I didn't listen to my gut when I felt that lump and have a mammogram and sonogram, I would have been dead in six months," she said.