In February 1996, when Patricia Smid first learned she had breast cancer -- in her case, a form called high grade Intraductal Carcinoma with lymph node involvement -- she experienced the wide range of emotions and questions common to anyone with a serious illness.

“I had many good days, but also bad days when I wondered ‘Why me?’ and ‘What did I do to cause this?’" says the now 56-year-old Levittown resident. “But as each day goes by, you realize that there must be a reason, so you focus on getting better and moving on.”

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Today, 13 years later, Patricia is cancer-free and feeling “great,” but shares that once a person has cancer, a certain amount of fear never goes away completely.

“I will never feel free of it, and when I go for my yearly exam, I will always feel uneasy,” she acknowledges.

Patricia’s solution and advice to others: “Be your own advocate. Ask questions, talk to health professionals, and never settle for a doctor who will not answer your questions or concerns.”