International Women's Day: Cancer survivor shares her story

Published: Mar. 8, 2020 at 9:24 PM CDT
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Owning an Axe Entertainment facility is a dream come true for Shawnna Latino.

"It's going to be more than cool... we are expecting to open very soon," says the business partner who's Stumpy's Hatchet House project will open by the Summer on Austin Ave.

Latino has taken on the project head-on just as she has with everything in life.

"I am not a negative person, it's just never been a part of my life," says Latino.

However, a few years ago her positivity would be put to the test when she received the news that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I said 'OK let's do it'," said Latino after she was diagnosed at a yearly mammogram.

Latino wasn't the only member from her family battling cancer.

Her brother was in a fight with stage 4 prostate cancer, and her mother had also recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"We were all 3 going through treatment together and we all had chemo at the same time," says Latino who later learned that a family pattern wasn't just by chance.

She had learned from her doctor of the BRCA genetic mutation that can lead to an increase in certain kinds of cancer, with breast and ovarian cancer being the most prevalent.

Thus making women extremely at risk if they have the mutation.

Texas Oncology says that close to 1 million Americans have the mutation and that only 10% of people who have it, know that they have it.

Latino and her mother tested positive for the BRCA 2 mutation, proving that they were at much higher risk for breast cancer.

Wishing that she would have had the genetic test done sooner so she wouldn't have had to go through such a tough battle.

"I would not have had to go through chemotherapy and radiation and my mother would not have had to go through chemo," says Latino.

After months of battling her and her mother would survive their cancer.

However Latino's brother would not, proving just how devastating cancer can be.

Now, Latino is making sure she takes the steps necessary in decreasing her risks.

"Know your family history and know how important it is to talk to your health care providers about it," she said.

Because knowing her risks has helped keep her alive, and says it can help others too.