Facing Stage IV breast cancer at 36

One in eight Canadian women develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

Carmen Hou joined BC Cancer’s Personalized Onco-Genomics Program, where scientists sequenced her DNA to match her to the best treatment possible for her cancer. Today, she nears the three-year mark of being on a trial drug that’s kept her cancer stable.

Carmen Hou joined BC Cancer’s Personalized Onco-Genomics Program, where scientists sequenced her DNA to match her to the best treatment possible for her cancer. Today, she nears the three-year mark of being on a trial drug that’s kept her cancer stable.

Carmen Hou is a vibrant 36-year-old mother to four-year-old, Evelyn.

But Carmen is facing what any young mother may call her worst nightmare.

In January 2016, six months after Carmen gave birth to Evelyn, she noticed two tiny lumps on her left breast.

“I’ll never forget that day,” Carmen says, of when test results came back confirming she had breast cancer. Her diagnosis: Stage IV.

“I called my husband right away and we both started crying. We were at a loss for words.”

Roughly a month after her diagnosis, Carmen began chemotherapy treatment. She went on to have a mastectomy and learned that the chemotherapy may not have been effective.

She then consented to BC Cancer’s Personalized Onco-Genomics Program where scientists sequenced her DNA to match her to the best treatment possible for her cancer.

Today, Carmen nears the three-year mark of being on a trial drug that’s kept her cancer stable. She’s been told by her doctors that many patients on the trial decline around this time in their treatment plan.

STRENGTH & OPTIMISM

One in eight Canadian women develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Carmen’s cancer is not hereditary and she does not carry a gene mutation. Breast cancer most commonly occurs in women aged 50-69 years old. At Carmen’s young age her case is considered rare and hard-to-treat.

“Because of my late stage diagnosis, I don’t know what the future really holds for us or how much time I have on this earth,” she said. “It’s really changed my perspective and I want to make the most out of my life and what’s important.”

Today, Carmen takes things day by day, relying on spirituality, family and friends. She’s also become an advocate for the BC Cancer Foundation’s campaign to Break Down Women’s Cancers.

To learn how you can help provide hope to women like Carmen, visit www.bccancerfoundation.com

Starting March 8, International Women’s Day, the BC Cancer Foundation is on a mission to break down breast and gynecologic cancer. Donations will drive innovation that allows BC Cancer’s world-leading scientists and clinicians to catch cancers earlier, to cure more patients and to prevent recurrence.

Right now thanks to a generous donor, Charlotte A. Salomon, QC, donations will be matched up to $50,000.

Donate today.

BC Cancer FoundationHealth and wellnessPhilanthropy

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

From left: Councillor Lucy Taylor, Councillor Barry Banford, Councillor Bill Haring, Mayor Merlin Blackwell, Councillor Lynne Frizzle, Councillor Lyle Mckenzie and Councillor Shelley Sim. (District of Clearwater photo)
Intersections in Weyerhaeuser community could soon see some changes

A four-way stop and assessment are planned for two intersections in the community.

File photo
Encounter with suspicious man has Vavenby mother concerned

The man was driving a red car and asked her 11-year-old daughter for her address as she walked home.

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Interior Health top doctor released on bail after sex crimes charges involving child

Dr. Albert de Villiers was arrested on two Alberta charges in Kelowna on Tuesday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read