Tonia posing showing mastectomy scar

Tonia Uncovered: A Breast Recognition Project

Name: Tonia
Age When Diagnosed: 41
Breast Cancer Type: Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), Stage 3
I Am A: Daughter, Warrior, Faithful

I was diagnosed in November 2019 and had a left breast mastectomy in December 2019. I started radiation in February 2020 and finished at the end of March 2020.

 The connection I had with my breasts was strong. I always had larger breasts and they were very much a part of who I was as a woman. My breasts were part of all the stages of life from my teenage years when I was wearing outfits that were way too tight to show them off, all the way to the role my breasts played in motherhood, which helped create a special bond with my children. 

Pre-diagnosis I was comfortable in my own skin. l worried less about how my clothing fit and how it made me feel so I had to adjust to my new body. It has taken a lot of work on myself to realize I am so much more than just what I look like on the outside. I get to show my daughter I’m still a strong Black woman with or without my breast.

This is one of the hardest journeys to go through and sadly one you would never choose. Being a young woman diagnosed with breast cancer can be very isolating. Imagine going to every appointment and seeing no one that looks like you. You may be afraid to speak up for yourself, but don’t be because it’s important to be your own advocate in both the mental and physical parts of your treatment.

I think that as Black women, we want support groups, advertising, breast prosthesis, wigs and all stages of breast cancer treatment to reflect us. Black women dealing with breast cancer just want to be seen, heard and valued in all parts of our cancer journey.

Uncovered: A Breast Recognition Project is a new resource that focuses on the breast cancer experience of Black women, through powerful imagery and real women’s stories that shine a light on the physical and emotional scars of breast cancer. Uncovered was created in collaboration with Michelle Audoin and developed in response to the significant underrepresentation of, and lack of support for, Black women and women of colour in the breast cancer community. Our hope is to educate all people, including healthcare providers, on the unique needs of Black women with breast cancer, so they are better equipped to support all the women they care for. Learn more about the resource here.

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50 Carroll Street Toronto, Ontario Canada M4M 3G3
Phone: 416 220 0700
Registered Charity #: 892176116RR0001

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