Maggie Kudirka

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I was a member of the Joffrey Concert Group in NYC when I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in June 2014. I was only 23 years old and had no risk factors for breast cancer other than being female. Results from a subsequent genetics screening showed that I did not carry the genes linked to breast cancer.


I had a large, aggressive tumor that grew very quickly and spread to my bones and lymph nodes. I moved back home to be with my family and began treatment at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.


Fortunately, my type of breast cancer (positive for Her2, ER & PR) responds very well to the drug Herceptin. My tumor began shrinking after my first chemo treatment on 7/1/14 and continued to shrink until it was completely gone. The pathology report following my double mastectomy on 12/26/14 found no cancer in either breast or lymph nodes. I had a pathological complete response. Six days after surgery, I was back in the studio working to regain my strength, stamina, and technique. I hope to return to dance in NYC again.


Once breast cancer metastasizes to another body part, it is very, very difficult to know if all the cancer has really left the body after treatment. Tiny, undetectable cancer cells could be lurking dormant in the body. If these cells come to life, the cancer will return. That is why metastatic (stage 4) breast cancer is considered incurable. To keep the cancer cells dormant, I will remain on medications for the rest of my life or until a cure is found. The cost of these medications is enormous: $4,000 to $9,000 per dose, per drug. I receive two drugs every 3 weeks, and a 3rd drug every 4 weeks. I hope to join a clinical trial testing a treatment that will keep my cancer from returning.


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