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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Accessibility improvements and more classrooms at the Houston Christian School should be completed by the new school year. (Houston Today photo)
Accessibility improvements coming to Houston Christian School

Construction package includes two classrooms

The soft opening of the nature centre at the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery took place mid-April. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Houston hatchery and nature centre’s upcoming events

The conservation group to host summer students this year

Council wants a say in the expansion of long term care services in Smithers. Pictured here is the Bulkley Lodge facility in that community. (Google photo)
Long term care remains on council priority list

Wants to be involved in expansion plans in Smithers

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

Most Read