Woman credits physicians assistant for catching her cancer

Updated: Jun. 3, 2019 at 5:42 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Sunday, June 2 was National Cancer Survivor Day — more than 1.7 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year.

One of those people was Byrd High School graduate Rachel Caudle. The CHRISTUS Cancer Treatment Center in Shreveport has become her second home in the last few months after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in December.

She spent the past several months undergoing chemotherapy. Now she’s moved on to radiation treatments.

Her story isn’t your typical one. She discovered she had this devastating disease after going in for a regular OB appointment.

“I was filling out paperwork about my father’s family history of cancer,” Caudle said. “My PA actually recommended I take the BRCA gene test."

Checking those boxes on her medical history sheet led to the discovery that Caudle did in fact carry the BRCA-2 gene. It’s a mutation that leads to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

“By age 70 I was 84 percent likelihood of getting breast cancer," she said. “So I thought I was going to be proactive and get a double mastectomy. I had everything scheduled and the week before they called me and said they found breast cancer in one of my breasts.”

The devastating news came just days before Caudle thought she had outsmarted the disease.

“I was 36 when I was diagnosed and I’m like 36 year old’s don’t get cancer," she said. "After it sunk in I was like I have no choice. I have two little girls at home. I’m not going to sit home and feel sorry for myself. I’ve got to be proactive.”

Caudle has continued to live her life just as if she was cancer free. She goes to work each day and cares for two young girls. But everything she does in her fight goes back to filling out her medical history honestly and accurately.

It was a decision that proved to be life-saving not just for her but also for the other women in her family.

“I actually have a younger sister so when I went through this journey the second phone call I made was to my sister and said you have got to go get tested for the BRCA gene and unfortunately she’s BRAC-2 positive as well," she said. "Not only did my PA save my life she saved my sister’s life as well.”

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