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'I was lotioning after a shower and felt a lump:' How one metro Detroit woman battled breast cancer at age 32

Posted at 5:09 AM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 07:33:46-04

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As of 2017, the median age of women diagnosed with breast cancer was 62. But one young woman in metro Detroit got the news three decades earlier than that. Her inspiring story is the focus of this week’s Living A Better Life.

Did you know there’s a one-in-eight chance a woman will develop breast cancer in her lifetime?

Amanda Hofbauer of Farmington Hills was only 32 when she found out she would be fighting this disease.

“I was lotioning after a shower and felt a lump. And immediately panicked,” said Hofbauer.

Her obstetrician told her it was most likely a cyst that would go away. But after a month, she asked to have a mammogram. That was followed by a biopsy.

On March 5, 2018, Hofbauer was told she had stage 2 breast cancer.

She embarked on a series of tests to make sure she was ready for chemo when she got the news it was stage four.

“The bone scan showed that it had actually metastasized in my bones. So it was in my spine, my pelvis, in my hips. Everywhere," explained Hofbauer.

“I was just thinking, my life had just started. I had just started this relationship. I had been with him for 7 months at diagnosis, so I was worried about that falling apart just because this was a journey that was going to be for the rest of my life. I was going to be in treatment for the rest of my life," she added.

She had no family history and tested negative for every single gene mutation – including BRCA.

She sought out a second opinion with Dr. Michael Simon.

He’s leader of the Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary team at Karmanos Cancer Institute and professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

“Having cancer isn’t necessarily a death sentence, you know. And even at any stage of cancer there’s hope. There are treatment options. There are clinical trials where we’re looking for new treatments,” said Dr. Simon.

Under his care in April of 2018, Hofbauer started treating the cancer. She underwent chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, and 30 rounds of radiation. Her boyfriend, Adam, was by her side through it all.

He popped the question on Valentine’s Day of this year, and they’re planning to get married in September of 2020.

Hofbauer’s most recent scans are clear, and she’s prepared to get checkups every six months.

Her message to other young women?

“If something doesn’t feel right in your body, you have to advocate for yourself. You have to do it," said Hofbauer

Monthly self breast exams are so important.

We want to thank Amanda Hofbauer for sharing her story.

The American Cancer Society says women age 40 to 44 should have the option to begin annual mammograms – unless there is a family history.

In that case, consult with your doctor about starting mammography sooner.

Women 45 to 54 should have annual mammograms. Women 55 and older can transition to mammograms every other year.

Bottom line, make sure you talk to your health care provider about your breast health.

SAVE THE DATE

Karmanos Cancer Institute will host its 9th Annual Cancer Symposium this month.

Progress in Cancer Care, Advocacy and Survivorship
Saturday, October 12, 2019
7:30am - 2pm
MotorCity Casino Hotel
2901 Grand River Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201

This is event is FREE and open to the public.
Registration is required.
Free parking is available.