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home : latest news : latest news October 13, 2015

10/7/2013 6:01:00 AM
Beating breast cancer has been Reanna Arroyo's focus
Courtesy photo
Reanna Arroyo has waged a strident battle against her unexpected case of breast cancer.
Courtesy photo
Reanna Arroyo has waged a strident battle against her unexpected case of breast cancer.
Tamara Sone
The Daily Courier

CHINO VALLEY - Breast cancer is an equal opportunity disease.

It can affect women - and men - with no regard to their age, race or financial status.

Reanna Arroyo is living proof that breast cancer doesn't discriminate.

About eight months ago, the 32-year-old Chino Valley resident discovered a lump in her right breast during her monthly self-check examination.

"When I first found it, it seemed normal," Arroyo said. "And then it started growing."

With no family history of cancer, let alone breast cancer, and a negative result for the breast cancer gene mutation (BRCA), Arroyo said she "just knew it was cancer and never second-guessed it."

With no health insurance, Arroyo contacted the BreastCare Center in Prescott Valley for help.

"We all fell in love with Reanna and it was tough to even think about how young she was," center Clinical Navigator Nancy Ledoyen said "It was challenging early on with her lack of insurance, because we obviously wanted to do everything as soon as possible. From the get-go, she showed her strength of being patient."

After several tests, biopsies, ultrasound and MRI images to determine how far the cancer had spread, doctors told Arroyo that the cancer was in her right breast and lymph nodes.

Not taking any chances, Arroyo opted for a double mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction.

"Most people want to do a lumpectomy, but I was like, 'no, scoop them out so I don't have cancer anymore,'" Arroyo said. "On April 9 I had my surgery."

The surgery was far from the easy procedure that actress Angelina Jolie described in a letter to the New York Times in May. After being diagnosed with the BRCA 1 gene, Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy in early 2013.

Unlike Jolie, who wrote that "days after surgery you can be back to a normal life," Arroyo's recovery took a bit longer - and was a bit more painful.

"It was hard. It was probably the worst pain I'd ever had," Arroyo said. "And I had kids. I'd rather have 10 kids than do that again."

Arroyo credits her husband, Jason Arroyo, 29, with helping her through the painful process.

"He was great," she said. "I couldn't have done this without him. He doesn't get how much he has helped me."

After her surgery, Arroyo underwent chemotherapy. Currently, Arroyo drives to Sedona everyday for radiation treatments - 33 treatments in total. Her last radiation treatment is Oct. 11.

The most difficult part of the journey has been watching her daughters, ages 2, 7 and 9, deal with the breast cancer diagnosis.

"I thought it was hard for me, but it was heartbreaking to see my daughters hurt so bad," Arroyo said, tearing up. "I don't like to see my kids hurt. It was something that I went through that hurt them, and that killed me."

While Arroyo is well on the road to recovery, the financial burden has been devastating for the family.

"People don't see behind the scenes of cancer. They're like, 'Oh my gosh, she has cancer, that must suck,' but that's the least of my worries," Arroyo said. "I've been turned down by foundations for help. We are getting ready to lose our house. That's probably been the toughest thing for us."

Despite losing her hair, undergoing harsh chemo and radiation therapy, and struggling financially, Arroyo's determination to beat the disease has never wavered.

"Not only had we seen the strength of her dealing with her illness, but what a dedicated mom and community member she is," Ledoyen said. "It becomes a true blessing to be involved with someone of her caliber. The maturity and yet vulnerability she has demonstrated are to be respected in a person of any age."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Article comment by: Reanna Arroyo

Thank you all for the words of encouragement!! I am proud to say that my treatment is finished!! And I am on my way back to my normal but definantly changed life. I do have to say that through all of this the Breast center in Prescot Valley is most definanlty a huge part of my life even after all is done. They are not a one size fits all treatment plan. As a matter of fact the Breast Center is not a treatment center at all. The plan for anyones fight aganst cancer would come from the oncologist and surgeons. With that said I will recomend the Breast center to EVERYONE!

Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2013
Article comment by: Tamee Niekamp

Reanna -we love you and your family! God Bless you ! Prayers always-

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: Joanne Kincaid

Reanna, I am an 11 year survivor of Breast Cancer. In 2002 I didn't have insurance, but I worked with my doctors until the bills were paid off. I also looked for financial help, and came to a dead end. But today, I know that AVON helps with financial assistance. My daughter and I just finished the 2 day walk in Santa Barbara, CA and that walk alone raised 4.4 million. Go to the Avon for Women web site and tell them your situation. Good luck with your journey. Also check with the local Cancer Assoc. As they say, all monies gathered locally, stay LOCAL.

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2013
Article comment by: Cathy Ong

Hi Reanna! I also is a breast cancer survivor(as i would like to think) from the Philippines. I have been diagnosed this Feb,4.2013. I finished my Mastectomy on the left and 8 sessions of chemotherapy. True, its financially draining. Lucky you had breast reconstruction while I don' have the means to do it. t I'm now recovering. Everyday is a life worth celebrating. You will be ok. We will be ok. Keep your faith high! Will be praying for you.

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2013
Article comment by: Victoria Smith

Reanna, you are inspiring and in my prayers! For all low-income Arizona women without health insurance, a possible option it the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program. I am in this program and it is a life-saver (and we hope money-saver too!) Find out more at

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2013
Article comment by: Jeanne Piper

Glad that you are doing well at Mayo clinic. It is a great institution with access to lots of clinical research trials and options as you mentioned.
It is certainly far from the norm to have to wait 2 months to see a surgeon for a breast issue, especially when breast cancer is suspected. Part of the role of a navigator is to expedite such appointments and care.
Sounds like you have found a place that is a good match for you.

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2013
Article comment by: Dear Ms. Piper

I wish you a complete and speedy recovery. You can do it !!!

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2013
Article comment by: Vanessa H

Reanna, I'm so glad to hear you are doing well although I did not get to know you very well I'm not surprised to read that you are a fighter. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2013
Article comment by: Jeanne Piper

I am so glad to read of Reanna's recovery. I am currently in the "middle" of my battle with breast cancer. I visited PV Breast Clinic a year ago after discovering a lump. As I'm sure that cancer care is individualized at PV Breast Care, ( care designed for each patient),.. and as I said, I'm glad that their diagnosis and care helped Reanna,...but it did not for me.
I view my care/diagnosis as caring, friendly, BUT a "one size fits all" treatment plan. My plan was told to me by the radiologist and navigator with no dr. medical degree on the wall. It was going to be two months before I could visit with a cancer dr. in Prescott. What??!! The plan was: breast removal, chemo, radiation. I needed more options.
I am with Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. I was seen one week of making an appointment. I had a biopsy, CT, MRI and then the oncologist talked with me, eye ball to eye ball. Yes, the travel is difficult and pricey, however, the clinic study I'm on, ( meaning more options),..involves infusions and daily cancer meds. More options w/ last resort, surgery.
So far, so good. Exceeds 200-word limit)

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Roberts

Jason & Reanna....I had no idea what you have been thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope everything turns out alright.

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