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Silva recovers from battle with breast cancer

Stay vigilant when it comes to your health, says Chamber president

Silva recovers from battle with breast cancer

Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO Sharon Silva (right) donned a Turlock Firefighter's pink t-shirt to benefit cancer research and posed with firefighters and city attorney Phaedra Norton at the Turlo...

POSTED October 10, 2013 10:44 p.m.

If Turlock Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sharon Silva had one message to give women in the community, it would be this: Stay on top of your health. Getting regular mammograms, annual physicals, and doing self breast exams are all part of Silva's preventative health routine. This year, that routine likely saved her life.

"I can't say it enough. Stay on top of your health, in all aspects," Silva said.

Silva started out 2013 feeling tired and not really like her normal, active self. This change in her overall health prompted the busy executive to move her annual physical up a month, followed by a mammogram. That is when her doctor found a lump in her left breast.

Silva had a lumpectomy in June, and initially, she and her doctors thought that would be the end of it. But when the pathology results came back from the removed lump, it was bad news; invasive and aggressive carcinoma. 

A following magnetic resonance imaging scan found that the cancer had also moved to Silva's right breast. Silva followed her doctors' advice and scheduled a bilateral mastectomy.

"I was fortunate enough that it didn't go into the lymph nodes," she said. "It was small and we caught it in the beginning."

Silva will not have to undergo chemo or radiation therapy, and endure all the side effects that go along with them. She will take a chemo pill for five years.

"My story is very, very positive," Silva said. "They can do so much today, if they catch it early. There's so much that they can do."

In the past, Silva has always been a supporter of the American Cancer Society and events like Relay for Life that raise funds for cancer treatment, research and awareness. Three years ago she saw her sister battle cancer, and her daughter, who is now 47, had to have a lump removed from her breast at the age of 16.

Cancer has always been a part of Silva's life, but it wasn't until she experienced her own battle with the disease that she really saw how many people are affected by it in the community at large.

"In the journey of this over the past months, I can't tell you how many people cancer has touched," she said. "The matter of a short period of months can make a difference."

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