Breast cancer survivor defies odds - FOX 35 News Orlando

Breast cancer survivor defies odds

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SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

This month, FOX 35 is helping spread awareness about breast cancer.

While white women are more likely to be diagnosed, black women are more likely to die of the disease.  That's according to the American Cancer Society.  There are many possible reasons behind that trend.  Some researchers point to early detection as the key to reversing those numbers.

FOX 35's Kimberly Wiggins shares one local survivor's story.

Quanda Byrd doesn't take quiet moments at home for granted anymore -- not since last year.

"December is when I first noticed it, the lump," said Byrd. "It was like a rash on my left breast."

The 37-year-old had a mammogram, then an ultrasound, and then a biopsy. On February 7th, the nurse's doctor called her to the hospital.

"That was the worst day of my life," said Byrd.

Byrd was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She first worried about her girls.  In fact, she didn't share her diagnosis with Dyesha, 16, or Denalya, 11, for months.

"When I had the first surgery I told them I had some issues with my armpits," said Byrd.

The Sanford native even went to work through most of her treatment, and kept chemotherapy a secret from friends and co-workers.

"Normally I'm the one that fixes everything and gets everyone together or lends a helping hand," said Byrd. "I guess I didn't want the whole pity party and everything so maybe that's what it was."

Her hairdresser and good friend Saniece Hunter said she cried when Byrd told her the diagnosis.

"I knew hands down that she was going to get through this," said Hunter.

Hunter said the news hit close to home.

"I had a few cousins and family members that were diagnosed with cancer, not breast cancer, but certain types of cancer," said Hunter. "It was really emotional to know someone close."

Hunter owns Hair Eye Am Salon in Sanford. She's made several wigs for survivors, so she quickly started on one for Byrd.

"It's a tedious process, but the fulfillment of just knowing that that person is going to have an option," said Hunter.  "Like, they can walk around and don't feel uncomfortable going around people."

"It's really important because that's part of the healing," said Byrd.  "If you look good, you feel good. That's important. That I continue to look like myself and be myself."

Byrd is someone who spends her time caring for others, especially her young cancer patients.

"He actually helped me because here I am worried about a little bitty ol' lump in my breast and he has a lot more cancer than me," said Byrd.  "He's not worried about it, so I was like shake it off.  You're okay, girl."

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