Living without regret; advice from a cancer survivor

By Anna Yee

May 9, 2013 Updated May 9, 2013 at 10:52 PM CDT

PEKIN, Ill. -- Tami Fryman is taking it one day at a time.

Two years ago, she began a journey she calls "life-changing."

"If someone tells you you have breast cancer, it is the scariest thing, and your mind just stops," said Fryman.

Fryman underwent a double mastectomy just a month after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

And now she's still struggling to recover from reconstructive surgery.

"I look back now," said Fryman, "Should I have done more research and been able to save my breasts and just have a tumor removed and not have to go through everything I've went through?"

Dr. Nguyet Le-Lindqwister, an oncologist at Illinois CancerCare in Peoria, says thanks to evolving techniques, such as genetic testing for breast cancer, patients are able to receive more suitable therapy options.

"For patients who have high-risk breast cancer based on this testing, then we would offer them chemotherapy," said Dr. Le-Lindqwister. "For patients who have low-risk, they don't have to go through chemotherapy, because they can be treated with therapy that's less invasive, less side effects."

Genetic testing wasn't something Fryman researched.

With the rate of cancer incidents expected to go up next year, mainly in the baby boomer generation, Fryman says doing that research is critical.

"Whether it's removing one breast or two or just the tumor, the chemo, the radiation, I want them to know that that's what they want," said Fryman. "I don't want them to look back with regrets."