After being cancer-free for the past five years, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Amber Marchese confirms her breast cancer has returned. The 37-year-old reality TV star was shocked to learn that there’s a new tumor in the same right breast where she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009.
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“I was just sick to my stomach,” Marchese told People in an interview. “I can’t even begin to describe the feeling you get when someone says you have cancer. Then to get it again after you thought you fought it and thought it was behind you. I was thinking, ‘This is definitely it. I’m going to die.’ ”
Marchese, who joined The Real Housewives of New Jersey in season 6, opted to have a double mastectomy when she was first diagnosed with cancer six years ago.
“I thought, you remove it, you go through the harsh treatments, and you move on. So I was shocked. Everyone is shocked,” she said. “You’re never going to remove 100 percent of the breast tissue with a mastectomy. So you just pray to God that you remove enough.
“You have a double mastectomy and chemotherapy to stack all the odds in your favor so that there is no recurrence,” she added. “The percentage of it recurring is very small, less than 5 percent. I just fell into that category. I wasn’t so lucky.”
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According to Marchese, her case is not that common and the last thing she wants to do is to discourage people with cancer.
“I don’t ever want to deter women from getting a mastectomy,” she said. “I don’t want women to say, ‘Well, she had a mastectomy. What’s the point of getting a mastectomy if it doesn’t work? That’s a very dangerous message to get out. I hear it all the time. ‘You got a double mastectomy. How did it not work?’ My case is not the norm. Do what’s right for you.”
Despite the unfortunate news, Marchese is enjoying life to the fullest while taking aggressive treatments to battle her cancer. “I’m going to have an additional surgery to remove the remaining breast tissue with clean margins,” she revealed. “I’m going to be on radiation five days a week for five weeks. The doctor is putting me on five different drugs, including Herceptin.”
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“I have children, and my children can’t see worry on my face. They can’t see me skip a beat. They still need me,” said Marchese, who still manages to continue with her regular routines. “You just have to go on with everyday life. I always say, it’s not a matter of if something is going to happen, it’s a matter of how we handle it. I feel at peace. I feel determined. I feel like everything is going to be okay.”
(Image courtesy of Bravo)