Fresno artist beats stage four breast cancer


They’re beautiful and creative. Works of art by Jillian Sara of Fresno. She’s a painter, a writer, a make-up artist, and a photographer. In fact it was her work with a heavy camera, that sent her to Kaiser Permanente in Fresno for a check-up in June of last year. “My shoulder was hurting and it went all the way down my arm and I noticed a numbness in my left hand,” Jillian says.
She had an X-ray, but her doctor sent her for a mammogram.. And then a biopsy. “We’ve had lots of cancer in my family. So immediately there was the alarm that this could be an issue,” says Jillian.
It was a big issue. Jillian lost her older sister to breast cancer. Her mother is a breast cancer survivor. The biopsy confirmed she would battle it next. Stage four breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and to near her left lung.
Surgeon Dr. Nicole Hill of Kaiser Permanente Fresno says Jillian had a PET scan. “We’re coming up on the breast tissue and this jumps out at you. This bright large mass and this is the primary breast tumor,” Dr. Hill says.
Dr Hill was part of the team treating Jillian’s cancer. Though the cancer had metastasized, or spread, the team quickly went to work to stop it. “So the way that all played out is Jill went through chemotherapy, she went to surgery had a modified radical mastectomy, removal of the breast along with lymph nodes under the arm,” Dr. Hill says.
Jillian also had radiation. And now, one year later, the cancer is gone. A testament to her aggressive treatment and her willingness to fight “My concern really went simply: well, do I want to live, or do I want to die? Do I trust my doctors? And I did,” Jillian says.
A serious diagnosis, with the best possible outcome. That’s now inspiring this artist in her work. “It’s even the tag line on my website right now is I survived stage four cancer and you can too… because you can,” she says.

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