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MAKING A MARK: Breast cancer survivor promotes self-advocacy

Christina Miner's Ductal carcinoma in situ diagnosis came after years of self-advocacy. She pushes others to fight for themselves and take control of their health.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — When it comes to breast cancer, Christina Miner calls herself both a survivor and an advocate.

"I want my scars that I have, mentally and physically, to be heard," Miner said. 

She was diagnosed with Ductal carcinoma in situ at 44 years old. That means that doctors found abnormal cells inside the milk ducts of her breasts. 

"The day I was diagnosed was December 6, 2019. I will never forget it," she said.

While the news was devastating, Miner said she knew for years that something was wrong.

"I complained constantly from 2001," Miner said.

 "[I had] inverted nipples. And [I had] a little bit of itching. And there was a little bit of drainage... things that could've probably been seen before."

Miner said her faith helped her process the diagnosis and take action for herself and others.

"I prayed to God, and I said, 'What do you want me to do with this?'" she said. 

"I felt like He was telling me, 'share your story'," she continued. 

 "And so, that very day that I found out that I had breast cancer, I went on Facebook and I shared my story. And I fought."

The next part of Miner's journey involved a procedure to save her life, but she said it also dramatically changed her life.

"I got the double mastectomy," Miner said. 

"I had to then get used to being flat."

It took some time, but Miner said she now embraces her new normal.

"I'm like, you know, at least God has allowed me to be alive to share my story," she explained. 

"This is who I am, and I'm alive to talk about it."

Miner credits her doctor with her connection to Here for the Girls, a nonprofit improving the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer under age 51.

 She said the doctor gave her the group's A Calendar to Live By, which shares the stories of survivors, provides breast health guidance and offers advice to other young women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

"Here for the Girls... is everything to me," Miner said. "I could just be me...We all heard, 'you have cancer'."

Now, Miner uses her story to give back and support other women in the organization.

"I am a co-facilitator for the newly diagnosed with Here for the Girls," she said. 

"I tell people... your voice matters. Make sure you're heard."

Miner was selected to be featured in Here for the Girls' 2023 A Calendar to Live By. Proceeds support the group. Click here to learn more or make a donation.

Visit Here for the Girls' website for more information about the nonprofit.

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