Podcast Episodes

Episode 95: Time to Check Your Breasts with Dr. Lisa Pena

October 7, 2020

Say Hi to Breast Cancer Survivor, Dr. Lisa Peña! Dr. Lisa Peña is a proud coach’s wife, a clinical pharmacist, passionate public speaker and a busy mom of three including a daughter with a unique subset of autism. Dr. Peña is a co-founder of the nonprofit Labeled and Loved and director of the nonprofit’s annual […]

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Say Hi to Breast Cancer Survivor, Dr. Lisa Peña!

Dr. Lisa Peña is a proud coach’s wife, a clinical pharmacist, passionate public speaker and a busy mom of three including a daughter with a unique subset of autism. Dr. Peña is a co-founder of the nonprofit Labeled and Loved and director of the nonprofit’s annual weekend retreat for mothers with special needs children. She is a Today Parenting team contributor, the writer behind the blog The M.o.C.h.A. Diaries and author of the book, “Waiting for the Light Bulb: the ramblings of a crazy, gritty mom.” She also happens to be a breast cancer survivor and the ultimate poster child for early detection and prevention.

Dr. Lisa had two aunts that got breast cancer, and was always an advocate for her breast health, despite her young age. Her doctors continued to tell her that they’d investigate it later in her 30s or after her last baby.

Enter MD Anderson, a preventive clinic in Texas that you can go to for checks and tests. Lisa and her family were heading to Magnolia for a vacation and decided to stop at MD Anderson on the way to get a check for peace of mind.

She ended up getting a mammogram, then a stereotactic mammogram and was ultimately diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer at age 35, and ultimately made the hard decision to undergo a bi-lateral mastectomy with 3 little kids at home.

The video below has a little more about Dr. Lisa’s story and the importance of early detection and the types of tests she took to determine her risk for breast cancer.

You Need to Advocate for Your Own Health Care

No doctor knows your body like you know your body. As women, we are known for our intuition and we have to listen to it. Dr. Lisa clearly knew something was going on because she kept persisting and advocating for herself. She wasn’t high risk on one test, so she pushed for another test- the TyrerCuzick model, which showed she actually was very high risk which ultimately led to her getting a mammogram before 35.

Dr. Lisa’s story was fortunately, very different than that of my sister in law, Amy’s. At age 34, Amy passed from undetected breast cancer. It kills me to think about what would have happened if she would have pushed the doctor to biopsy the lump she found, or sought out a second opinion. The advocacy factor is heartbreaking for me because I wish that Amy had a chance to fight this battle and not leave behind a 5 and 2 year old that need their mother.

Please trust your body. Know to push, ask questions, and seek second opinions. Your health and your life is not something to play around with. Your babies, family and the world need you in it.

How Can We Help?

To honor October- breast cancer awareness month, Dr. Lisa suggests offering a helping hand to a mom or woman in our community that may be undergoing treatment. A meal train is life for someone going through that experience. Donations to research is great, but the biggest impact can start within your community.





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  1. Ann Carter says:

    Allison – Thank you for sharing Amy’s story! This podcast is so important for so many reasons. Dr. Lisa Pena’s story points out how you have to be an advocate for yourself, even when doctors tell you that you’re “too young” to be at risk. Oh, how we wish Amy’s doctors had taken her concerns seriously!

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