Finding Support during a Breast Cancer Battle
- Janelle Green, a 38-year-old pediatric nurse living in New Jersey, is currently undergoing treatment for stage three breast cancer. And when her landlord asked her to remove a banner from her house asking for prayers, the mayor of her city relocated the banner to city hall.
- Breast cancer is a common cancer that has been the subject of much research. There are many treatment options for people with this disease, but treatment depends greatly on the specifics of each case. Identifying these specifics means looking into whether the cancerous cells have certain receptors – the estrogen receptor, the progesterone receptor and the HER2 receptor.
- There are many people out there for cancer warriors to be vulnerable with, if they’d like. And whether that’s through social media, a support group or simply connecting with your closest family and friends, it’s worth it to at least try.
Janelle Green is a 38-year-old pediatric nurse living in the city of Bayonne, New Jersey. She’s also a stage three breast cancer warrior.Read More
When she shared the news of her cancer battle, a local restaurant made a banner reading, “Stop and say a prayer. A person battling cancer lives here.” She proudly hung it on the railing of her home until her landlord asked her to take it down.
“I came by the apt today, I assume you put up that banner on the front steps. Please take it down when u can,” the landlord wrote in a text message.
Her response was simple: “Ok,” she wrote. “That lack of compassion is very telling.”
She complied and removed the sign, but took to social media to share her story. After that, the mayor of Bayonne, Jimmy Davis, heard about Green’s situation. He then met with her to offer his support and relocate the banner to a place where even more eyes could see it.
“My words to her were ‘no one in Bayonne fights alone,” Davis told New Jersey 101.5. “We stand shoulder to shoulder, help each other and stand side by side with each other.’ I told her to give me the banner and I will hang it from City Hall.”
Understanding Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a common cancer that has been the subject of much research. Many women develop breast cancer every year, but men can develop this cancer too – though it is more rare, in part, due to the simple fact that they have less breast tissue.
There are many treatment options for people with this disease, but treatment depends greatly on the specifics of each case. Identifying these specifics means looking into whether the cancerous cells have certain receptors. These receptors – the estrogen receptor, the progesterone receptor and the HER2 receptor – can help identify the unique features of the cancer and help personalize treatment.
“These receptors, I like to imagine them like little hands on the outside of the cell, they can grab hold of what we call ligands, and these ligands are essentially the hormones that may be circulating in the bloodstream that can then be pulled into this cancer cell and used as a fertilizer, as growth support for the cells,” Dr. Elizabeth Comen, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, previously told SurvivorNet.
One example of a type of ligand that can stimulate a cancer cell is the hormone estrogen, hence why an estrogen receptor positive breast cancer will grow when stimulated by estrogen. For these cases, your doctor may offer treatment that specifically targets the estrogen receptor. But for HER2 positive breast cancers, therapies that uniquely target the HER2 receptor may be the most beneficial.
Finding Support during a Cancer Journey
During a cancer battle, it’s important to know that you are not alone. There’s a community out there for you to be vulnerable with, if you’d like, and connecting with people as you battle the disease can make a world of difference. Green has the city of and its mayor to help her see how many people she has in her corner, but there are many other ways to find the support you need.
Kate Hervey is another cancer warrior who found support after sharing her cancer journey. A young college girl, she was shocked to be diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that tends to form near large joints in young adults, after seeing her doctor for tenderness and lumps in one of her legs.
Hervey, a nursing student at Michigan State, had to handle her cancer battle during the COVID-19 pandemic and scale back on her social activities as a high-risk patient. That’s when she turned to TikTok as a creative outlet, and inspired thousands.
“One thing that was nice about TikTok that I loved and why I started posting more and more videos is how many people I was able to meet through TikTok and social media that are going through the same things,” she says. “I still text with this one girl who is 22. If I’m having a hard time, I will text her because she will understand. As much as my family and friends are supportive, it’s hard to vent to someone who doesn’t know what it’s really like.”
Hervey is now cancer-free, and says she couldn’t have done it without the love and support of her TikTok followers.
“I feel like I’ve made an impact on other people and they have made an impact on me through TikTok, which is crazy to say. I can help people go through what I’ve been going through as well.” She has graciously agreed to allow SurvivorNet to use her content in order to help our community.
So while sharing your story to a vast TikTok audience or an entire city might not be your thing, it’s important to consider opening up to others during your cancer battle. Even if it’s with a smaller group, you never know how much the support can help you – or help those you share with – unless you try.