Local woman shares story of triple negative cancer diagnosis

UW Health study works to find new treatments
Local woman shares story of triple negative cancer diagnosis

A local woman is sharing her story this breast cancer awareness month after being diagnosed with triple negative cancer at age 30.

Amanda Poetzl thought year 30 would come with stability in her life.

“I felt like I had a clear understand of where I was going, what I wanted out of life and how to get there,” she said. “And cancer kind of threw a wrench in the mix.”

Petzl’s cancer diagnosis came just one month after her birthday, when doctors told her she had triple negative breast cancer, a strain that is particularly aggressive, more likely to recur and more frequently found in younger women.

“It was hard to grapple with,” Poetzl said. “Everything I’ve been planning and wanting to do gets put on hold. I went through a period of grief where I just felt so bad for myself that I wasn’t able to do the things I wanted to do.”

Researchers at UW Health are trying to cut down on the number of stories like hers. They’re targeting a specfic protein in cancer cells that has moved from the surface to the inside, making it harder to treat.

“If we move it back out where it’s supposed to be on the cell, we could potentially target it better with those medicines,” said Kari Wisinski with UW Health’s Carbone Cancer Center.

For women with a triple negative cancer diagnosis early in life, change is absolutely certain. Poetzl sees it as a chance to grow.

“I’ve learned to take the punches as they come,” she said. “I think that’s a huge lesson I’ve taken out of this: You’re not always in control and the challenge is to kind of take the lessons when they come, and you can get through things if you’ve got the right mindset.”