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

The currently vacant lot on Main Street where a Dairy Queen, retail and residential spaces have been approved to go into. (Town of Oliver)
Main Street in Oliver is getting a Dairy Queen and residential units

Oliver council gave its approval to fill the empty lot with DQ and residential units

A dumpster was on fire behind a residential complex in downtown Penticton Tuesday afternoon. (Brennan Phillips Western News)
Dumpster fire extinguished in downtown Penticton

There has been a string of dumpster fires lately

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

The Save Sickle Point Committee, a grassroots community group, has teamed up Penticton’s Tempest Theatre and Film Society to release short film on Sickle Point. (Contributed)
WATCH: Conservationists release short film on saving ‘precious’ Sickle Point

Sickle Point, the last intact wetland near Skaha Lake, is facing the prospect of development

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

The future of the Eagle Pass Lookout cabin is being discussed. (File photo)
Options presented for future of former Eagle Pass fire lookout in Shuswap

Stakeholders met in 2020 to discuss the restoration, or possible removal of the cabin

(Mayor Cindy Fortin - Peachland)
Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Forward Elan Bar Lev Wise of the West Kelowna Warriors (right, shown playing for the Vernon Vipers in 2019) has been suspended nine games by the B.C. Hockey League for being the instigator and aggressor in an after-the-game fight with Vernon’s Kjell Kjemhus Monday, April 12, at Kal Tire Place. Kjemhus was given a two-game suspension for his role. (Black Press - file photo)
West Kelowna Warriors forward handed lengthy suspension

Elan Bar Lev Wise fought Vernon Vipers forward Kjell Kjemhus after BCHL game was over Monday, April 12; Kjemhus suspended two games

Most Read