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Education: Patient Profile

Annual Report - 2005-2006

To the Edge and Back

By Gail Goodwin

A nurse herself, Janice Duplessis knew that she wanted to be involved in decisions about her care when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

With 31 positive lymph nodes, Duplessis worked hand-in-hand with her physician through a comprehensive and aggressive treatment plan.

After researching her options, she underwent a mastectomy of her right breast, followed by intensive chemotherapy, radiation and eventual reconstruction.

“I was scared,” Duplessis recalls, “but M. D. Anderson gave me hope when I didn’t think there was any.”

Today, Duplessis lives in a houseful of breast cancer patient advocates. From her husband, who is her “biggest cheerleader,” to her three sons, everyone is on her bandwagon.

“This is a 24/7 kind of awareness for me,” she says. “I believe that God has left me here for a reason.”

Duplessis takes her advocacy seriously, volunteering for the American Cancer Society, the Komen Foundation and the Anderson Network at M. D. Anderson. In addition to her telephone outreach work, she will chair the annual Anderson Network patient conference next fall.

“I tell every patient something I heard when I was diagnosed: not everyone gets the opportunity to walk to the edge and look over and then be able to walk back,” Duplessis says. “I’ve been given that opportunity and I’m not going to waste it.”

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center