At age 30 and with no family history suggesting the likelihood, Annie Goodman was diagnosed with Stage 2B triple negative breast cancer in 2012. Within months, the cancer had spread to her ovaries, lungs and brain. By the end of the year, she had undergone a double mastectomy and reconstruction, a complete hysterectomy and surgery to remove the tumors from her brain. Since her initial diagnosis, the cancer has progressed to stage IV, or metastatic disease.
During her treatment, Goodman was discovered to have the BRCA1 genetic mutation, which is closely linked to triple negative breast cancer. The BRCA1 mutation is a focus of research at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (RCINJ).
Unwilling to give in, Goodman has fought the disease every day while working to raise awareness about triple negative breast cancer. She became involved in the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, co-hosts The Stupid Cancer Show, a podcast for young adults battling cancer, and blogs regularly about her experiences in and out of the doctor’s office.
A former producer for the Fox News show Your World with Neil Cavuto, Goodman left her position in order to receive long-term disability support. She plans to return to television when able, but now dedicates her time to her own treatment and advocacy. She lives in New York City.
Aimee Parani and her husband, Chris, were overjoyed to learn that their second child, due in August 2013, would be a girl. A day later, her doctor called to tell Aimee she had breast cancer.
After initially being told by doctors in Florida that she would need to terminate the pregnancy to treat the cancer, Aimee and her family, which included Chris and four-year-old Gregory, moved home to New Jersey, searched for new doctors and endured months of specialized cancer treatment before giving birth to a healthy Paige Virginia Parani in August of 2013.
During the ordeal, Aimee was treated at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey by Dr. Deborah Toppmeyer. She underwent five months of chemotherapy during her pregnancy and a double mastectomy and reconstruction just weeks after giving birth.
The Paranis are a shining example of the work being done at RCINJ. They have recently shared their story with the Courier News in central New Jersey as well as other media outlets in the area.
The family owns a coffee shop in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, but remains in New Jersey with family as Aimee continues treatment for cancer.