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

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

(Black Press files)
Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. McDonald, QC reviewed the evidence and determined reasonable grounds exist to believe in officer may have committed offenses. (Black Press files)
Crown considering charges against Williams Lake Mountie after high-speed pursuit: police watchdog

IIO says the man, who was arrested, sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries from the incident

Sarah Smith is a bereavement worker with 100 Mile Hospice. (Kelly Sinoski - 100 Mile Free Press).
‘Grief never goes away’: Hospice seeks to add programs

Growing demand for bereavement services in the South Cariboo region.

Abstract Aspens by Monika Paterson.
Photography exhibits all Shades of Nature

Parkside Gallery features local art

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

A large illuminated heart was installed on the roof of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital May 1, 2020. (VJH Foundation photo)
Three deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreak in Vernon hospital

Interior Health reports two additional deaths at VJH

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Police are investigating after a man was shot Thursday, April 8 while sitting in a car in Vancouver. (Black Press files)
Man shot in Vancouver while sitting in a parked car: police

The victim is currently in critical condition. Police say no arrests have been made.

Teachers from SD42 and other districts in the Lower Mainland flocked to Surrey on Tuesday in the hopes of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (Sheelagh Brothers/Twitter)
Don’t line up for vaccines unless asked to come, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

Social media post shows teachers lining up outside of Surrey clinic for leftover doses

Most Read