Two-time Breast Cancer Survivor Beats the Odds
October 24, 2022
A two-time breast cancer survivor, Victoria Yeboah enjoys her life today—walking in the local park, reading her Bible and socializing with loved ones. But not long ago, she was in intensive care and unsure if she was going to survive.
Victoria’s story begins in 2009 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. After a year and a half of treatments, which included a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, she beat the cancer. For the next 10 years, she was healthy. “It was a great relief to survive that,” recalls the 62-year-old from Ocean Township, New Jersey. “I never thought it could come back!”
Then in November of 2020, she got pneumonia so severely that she found herself fighting for her life in the intensive care unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Victoria’s initial complaint was shortness of breath. She underwent a series of tests, including CT scans, which discovered that nodules in her lungs were making the situation worse. Oncologist Ruchi Bhatt, D.O., also discovered masses in both of Victoria’s breasts, and a biopsy revealed that she had metastatic breast cancer—breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Hanging in the Balance
Victoria’s condition was so serious that she was in the intensive care unit for several weeks. She was intubated and later even required a tracheostomy and feeding tube for two months. The time in the ICU was extremely difficult for Victoria. It was uncertain whether she would have to spend the rest of her life on a respirator or even survive.
As her care team aggressively treated the pneumonia, Dr. Bhatt also started intravenous chemotherapy to fight the cancer. After four months of intravenous chemo, Victoria was well enough to transition to oral medications. Because of the seriousness of her illnesses, she was an inpatient at the hospital for two months.
Dr. Bhatt says that, for those with Victoria’s diagnosis, half will experience a recurrence of their original cancer within five years of their initial diagnosis. “That’s why it’s so important for former cancer patients to keep up with regular doctor appointments and necessary tests,” Dr. Bhatt says. “That way, if the cancer returns, treatment can start as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome.”
Fortunately, Victoria beat the odds—both with her severe pneumonia and with her breast cancer recurrence.
No Evidence of Cancer
Today, Victoria’s last tests showed no evidence of cancer. She continues oral chemotherapy as part of her cancer treatment. “Even though she does not have any evidence of disease on PET CT scans, we need to continue her treatment since metastatic disease cannot be cured,” says Dr. Bhatt.
Adds Victoria: “Jersey Shore did an amazing job. I didn’t give up, my family didn’t give up, and the ICU team—each and every one of them—didn’t give up. It’s a great hospital, and I’m so grateful!”
Next Steps & Resources:
- Meet our source: Ruchi Bhatt, D.O.
- To make an appointment with an oncologist near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website
- Get screened for cancer
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.