RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Breast cancer is a disease that hits close to home for SO many of us. And as Breast Cancer Awareness month kicks off, NBC12 wants to take the time to have an important conversation about detection, treatment, support and so much more.
Tuesday night’s Digital Dialogue included survivors, hearing and learning from a doctor, and talking to a tattoo artist dedicated to helping survivors feel whole again in their journey.
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You can be part of the discussion all month long by sharing your stories. CLICK HERE to submit photos of you and your loved ones and you may see it featured on NBC12.com and NBC12′s social media channels.
Joining the Digital Dialogue, hosted by NBC12′s Jasmine Turner, were:
Dr. Sasa-Grae Espino, who graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in 2011 and has been practicing Surgical Oncology for over seven years. She is involved in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Dr. Espino is fellowship trained in general surgery as well as reconstructive surgery at Southside Regional Medical Center.
Tiffany Smith, a physical therapist at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville. At the age of 38, she was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer and had bilateral mastectomies with reconstruction. She met Amy Black in 2015 when she tattooed her breasts post reconstruction.
Amy Black, who began working for the tattoo studio Alive Gallery for Timothy Hoyer and Chris O’Donnell in 1998. Amy took over full ownership of the studio, now known as “Amy Black Tattoo,” in 2005. She began working in another field of tattooing known as “nipple and areola repigmentation” or “mastectomy tattooing” as a part of breast reconstruction for patients post mastectomy due to breast cancer or BRCA diagnosis.
Kristin Harris, who is the executive director of Susan G. Komen, is the fourth generation in her family to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Harris was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2012 when she was 32. She had 19 months of neoadjuvant chemotherapy to try to shrink the tumor in her left breast and to destroy the cancer cells that had spread to multiple lymph nodes. After the chemotherapy, she had eight weeks of radiation and then a double mastectomy before reconstruction.
Karina Bolster, a general assignment reporter with NBC 12 news. In 2010, her mother, Marina Bolster was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. After a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy, and later radiation, Marina passed away in 2013. During her fight, Marina remained strong, an inspiration to her three children. Her message to others battling cancer: “Never give up.”