Candace Pierre-Sooklal, Breast Cancer Survivor

Candace Pierre-Sooklal

Age 30 and confirmed Stage 2 Breast Cancer

“I was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer in my left breast in 2014, at the age of 30. I first became aware of breast cancer when I got a cancer scare at age 17. Since then, I started supporting breast cancer groups. When the lump was discovered I figured it would be negative just as it was in the past, so I didn’t worry. It was only when the lump started to cause pain, I decided to get a lumpectomy privately.

A sample was sent for testing and one week later the results came back positive. We were very shocked and devastated by the results. Most times when you hear ‘cancer’, you think of a death sentence. I was able to place all my focus on God and pray about it. I declared to God that cancer was not going to separate me from loving him and it’s why I am here today. God gave me the strength to persevere.

Treatment was a roller coaster

I was referred to a public hospital to get treatment. They took more tests and I waited three months for the results. It was a lot of waiting and anxiety for us, but I believed God had a plan. After the results, I found out that I was five weeks pregnant which was a bittersweet moment for us. This caused treatment to be delayed. I was advised to terminate the pregnancy but I refused. The doctors weren’t pleased but they accepted my decision and took care of me the best they could.

Five Weeks Pregnant and Hormone Receptive

My cancer was hormone receptive so my pregnancy was not helping. I decided to do the chemo after pregnancy. I had to have induced labour. The delivery was quick and intense. I had my baby girl and named her Faith Destiny because a lot of faith is needed when fighting cancer or anything else.

I started chemo once a week for 12 weeks. I was then on maintenance medication. However, the tumor came back more aggressively, so I made the decision to have the breast removed. It was scary but I was ready. The cancer came back again in 2018 but in my left arm. I have since been clean from cancer.

Having a Support System with Prayer

I have an amazing support system and thank God for them. A support system is very important to have during cancer. I have no family history of cancer. Cancer caused my family and me to grow closer to God and each other. It changed the way I look at life. I love to help and encourage people.

I think what could be improved in the healthcare system is the time frame that you have to wait for results from cancer tests. I have an echocardiogram to do every three months. However, that specific machine is reserved for specific patients, and most times my oncologist has to beg for me to be tested. I always advise people to get tested for breast cancer early and don’t let fear stop them. God’s strength would guide them through.“