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Melina Thorpe

has a family

history of breast cancer and worked as

an oncology nurse. Still, for months,

she put off getting a mammogram.

Just days after finally finding time for

the exam, she got her diagnosis. “It’s

a sisterhood no one wants to join,”

Melina says. Fortunately, she had sup-

port from her co-workers, friends and

family. After getting genetic testing to

determine the best treatment for her,

Melina underwent a lumpectomy and

six weeks of radiation therapy.

Now, seven years later, Melina feels

that her treatment made her a better

nurse. “I have a lot more empathy

now and just feel like I’m here to give

others hope,” she says. “Patients need

to know that there is life after breast


Sayma Salmon

had a pain

in her breast that wouldn’t go away.

When she went to her primary care

doctor, she was told it was nothing to

worry about. Yet four months later, the

pain was still there. That’s when she

pushed her doctor for a digital mam-

mogram. When the results came back

just minutes later, she learned she

had breast cancer.

“I was in shock,” she recalls. “There

is no history of cancer in my family.”

Being a nurse made the diagnosis

worse. “I knew the cancer was bad. I

was depressed, sad and angry.”

Doctors recommended Sayma

have a double mastectomy to reduce

her chances of cancer coming back.

In addition to surgery, she had six

months of chemotherapy. Through it

all, she continued to work. During her

recovery, her husband and brother-in-

law, both doctors, helped her focus on

the positives in her situation.

“You have to stay positive,” she says.

“I now thank God. He made me strong

enough to get through this. I’m glad I

can share my journey of hope and faith

with others.”

“Patients need

to know that

there is life after

breast cancer.”

—Melina Thorpe, RN,

Director, The AIS

Cancer Center

“You have to

stay positive.”

—Sayma Salmon, RN,

Nurse, The AIS Cancer

Center Clinic

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all.

—Emily Dickinson