During the Patti Hennessy Keynote Address, Brittney Beadle took the stage to share her inspiring experience as a young woman living with metastatic breast cancer.
At just 18 years old, Brittney found a lump in her right breast and went to a breast specialist where she was told she did not need a biopsy because “18-year-olds don’t get breast cancer.” Months later the lump grew. She went back to the doctor where she had a biopsy. Turns out, 18-year-olds do get breast cancer. Initially, it was believed to be in stage 2 and Brittney underwent a double mastectomy on the day that would have been her senior high school prom. However, a PET scan later revealed the cancer had spread to her bones and liver. Brittney was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Now, almost 7 years later, she is still here and living her life with love, hope and a search for never-ending healing. From the very beginning, she never lost hope and always knew in her heart that she was going to be OK.
But Brittney didn’t come to the Miami Breast Cancer Conference just share about her cancer diagnosis. She is passionate about inspiring other young men and women going through similar experiences to keep going and that it is possible to have hope during seemingly hopeless times. You can have something as serious and complex as stage 4 breast cancer but still have a good live.
Brittney is also passionate about empowering patients to be their own health advocates and to try and not get caught up in the fact that there are going to be some doctors who are going to have a pessimistic outlook about a stage 4 diagnosis. Over the last 7 years, Brittney has experienced the immense joy and relief that have come every time she has received positive news about her scans, but she also shared the fear she has faced time and time again when there has been progression of her disease. Still though, Brittney doesn’t allow much time to feel sorry for herself. And she wants other patients to have the mindset that you should never stop going and that healing is very possible – from the body to the mind.
In a room full of healthcare providers in the breast cancer space, Brittney shared several encounters she’s had with doctors who did not share in her positive outlook on her disease. She pleaded with the HCPs in the audience to be mindful of how they speak to patients about their health and that each patient should be looked at and treated as an individual and not as a statistic in the otherwise grim statistics that come with stage 4 breast cancer. “Words matter” to patients and it’s so important to share in the hope that patients hold onto while grappling with this disease.
Brittney exudes positivity while talking about her experience living with metastatic breast cancer. She has such spirit and chooses every day to not live cancer day in and day out. She says she she doesn’t plan to “ignore cancer” or medical treatment but to look at it in a different way. “I am putting cancer in a box and releasing it to the universe. My purpose here on earth isn’t to suffer, it is to enjoy myself, spread love, and to help change the world, which right now really needs it … now it’s time to listen to what my soul craves.” She serves as a wonderful reminder that although life can be difficult at times, you are stronger than you think and that everything will be OK.
These days, Brittney continues to blog her experience living life to the fullest despite her disease.