The Fight Against Breast Cancer

Vista Biology Teacher Shares her Victory


Ferrer and her family celebrating Ferrer’s birthday and Last Chemotherapy treatment on October 23rd 2021 by doing a walk at Mountains Edge Park. Ferrer’s last chemotherapy treatment was on October 7th 2021, and her birthday was on October 22nd 2021.

Breast cancer remains a common disease in women with a one-in-eight chance of a female developing it throughout a lifetime. Many women are battling with this invasive tumor with some having better chances at beating breast cancer than others. Numerous women are survivors of breast cancer, one of them being Sierra Vista family member Melissa Ferrer, our new ninth-grade biology teacher. 

Ferrer found tumors in her right breast in April 2021, three months after her annual mammogram in January; she received a diagnosis in May 2021, of Stage 1B with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Stage 1B with Triple Negative Breast Cancer is when the cancer cells are producing too little or much HER2 proteins ( the proteins that help cancer cells spread) and are unable to produce estrogen or progesterone receptors, according to  Usually there are no obvious signs of breast cancer formulating and spreading in a person. Ferrer’s diagnosis caught her by surprise, “I honestly felt in shock. I had no idea since I didn’t feel sick or what you would normally associate with cancer… I never thought I would get breast cancer as my mammograms have all been clean.”

Ferrer received chemotherapy as her treatment. Chemotherapy is the process of a drug being taken,rubbed, or injected, to work against the cancer cells, according to Ferrer’s treatment costs her around twenty dollars each visit, as a co-pay while her insurance covers the rest of the expenses. Chemotherapy can typically cost around one thousand to twelve thousand dollars, for the period of six months. Ferrer received her treatment at Southern Hills Hospital’s Cancer Center where she was given Taxol and Adriamycin which are chemotherapy medications. Ferrer’s treatment lasted for five months after her diagnosis. Aside from chemotherapy, Ferrer also received a double mastectomy; this is a type of surgery that removes both breasts to lower the risk of the cancer cells forming again.

Ferrer holding her celebratory cake that reads ” Chemo Pinito!” for her birthday as well as a final treatment cake.

Having any form of cancer can mentally tax anyone who is diagnosed. Ferrer was able to keep a positive mindset throughout treatment with the help of family and friends. Ferrer shares, “My faith,family,and friends helped me to stay focused and positive. I would have someone always with me on the days of my treatment so I wasn’t alone.” Ferrer finished receiving treatment in November 2021, “ It was such an emotional roller coaster ride going through chemo that once I finished my last session, I felt relieved and tired.”

Ferrer’s experience with breast cancer helped shape the person she is today; she feels this made a positive impact even with the obstacles she faced. Ferrer shares, “it absolutely changed my life and in fact, for the better. My faith is stronger and my family is closer than ever. I appreciate each day that I am given and find it to be a blessing….” Ferrer adds, “ When you are told you have breast cancer, it feels like a death sentence but…. Something as scary and life threatening, I was able to find hope. There’s always hope no matter the situation.”

Ferrer runs with her family,friends, and colleagues at Mountains Edge Trail, in order to celebrate.

Ferrer’s story shows that, despite the hardships of breast cancer, it can get better. Ferrer enjoys telling her story in hopes of helping and inspiring others who may be going through a similar situation. Ferrer reminds, “ You can do this…. You are stronger than you think…Don’t give up, there is HOPE.”