Breast Cancer Survivor and Advocate, Cynthia Bailey, MD, FAAD
Cynthia Bailey, MD, FAAD is a well-known skin care expert and author of the longest-running skin health blog in the world written by a dermatologist at DrBaileySkinCare.com.
But, you may not know that Dr. Bailey is a breast cancer survivor and advocate for healthy lifestyle choices for overall wellness.
During her monthly self-breast exam, she noticed something was wrong. And just one month prior to her 56th birthday, she was diagnosed with the ultimate booby prize – the BRCA 1 gene mutation and the dreaded, high-grade triple negative type of breast cancer.
And in her typical, over-achiever fashion, she had a separate tumor of this horrible type of cancer in each breast.
With two tumors, the odds were definitely against her. She faced aggressive chemotherapy and a year of surgeries.
Dr. Bailey was in for a fight for her life, and she decided to use her own experience as a breast cancer patient as a living laboratory to help other people undergoing cancer treatments.
Women with the BRCA 1 gene mutation are almost destined at birth to get either breast or ovarian cancer. They have an 87% lifetime risk of getting the aggressive, triple-negative type of cancer that Dr. Bailey developed.
“I probably inherited the gene from my maternal grandmother and her side of the family, though I never knew her or anyone on that side,” says Dr. Bailey. “My maternal grandmother died before I was born of some sort of cancer. In retrospect, she probably died of ovarian cancer. BRCA1 mutation carriers have an up to 60% lifetime risk of this horrible disease.
My grandmother’s name was Martha. She served as a nurse in World War I in France. Other than me, Martha is the only medical professional in my family. We probably would have had a lot in common. Sadly, I’ll never know. She was a working mother, and after the war, she worked as a nurse anesthesiologist at the VA Hospital in Oakland, California up until she became ill. Like me, her career was interrupted by cancer. My grandmother Martha passed on the BRCA 1 gene to my mother and me. She also gave me her ambition and love of clinical medicine.”
During what Dr. Bailey calls, “The Cancer Year,” she studied up on cancer treatment and how to survive it. As a physician, she knew that if the cancer doesn’t kill or maim you, the treatment can.
“I took notes and used those for writing many blog posts on what I learned about being a cancer patient,” she states. “With these notes, the experience, my education, and interviews with other survivors of cancer and serious illness, I also authored a soon-to-be published book with what I learned about how to face a life-changing illness and come out the other end thriving and well.”
To help others, Dr. Bailey wrote advice tips while she was going through her own treatment, information on what she learned, how to improve chemo port scars and sharing her own personal photos, and was the first person to write about using Latisse during chemo to keep eyelashes. Her blog holds so many more doctor-turned-patient’s tips for people undergoing cancer treatment.
And the results were overwhelming. Hundreds of people shared notes of thanks for sharing her journey.
Surviving well and thriving through life-changing illness is a new norm for wellness.
Cancer and serious illnesses are epidemic in modern life. There are 1.7 million new diagnoses of cancer annually in the U.S., and most people will survive the treatment to go on to be Cancer Survivors.
Another astounding statistic is that 40% of the U.S. population is living with a chronic, incurable and serious disease.
Dr. Bailey successfully fought her battle with cancer. Now, she is a tireless advocate for breast cancer awareness.
In addition to being quoted as a skin care expert in hundreds of media venues like WebMD, Redbook, Medical Daily, MSN, Fox News Channel, Prevention, Health, Yahoo! Beauty, Wellsphere, Better Health, and more, she uses her website to share her expertise, build awareness and raise money for breast cancer research and patient advocacy.
She also created an important skin care kit for chemotherapy patients. Proceeds are donated to FORCE, the advocacy organization for the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community. Chemo patients have many skin problems, and Dr. Bailey knows that protecting skin health is important for reducing the risk of skin infections while undergoing chemo.
If you or someone dear to you is undergoing treatment for cancer, you can find Dr. Bailey’s tips and advice for cancer patients on her blog. These include: ways to prevent skin infections and the side effects of chemotherapy, how to reduce hair loss, healthy diet choices and recipes, and wellness tips to survive, and ultimately thrive, in spite of what they must endure.