Family of breast cancer survivors reunites with surgeon

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Three sisters and their mother who won their battles with breast cancer reunited with the surgeon who treated each of them. 

Martha Overton, the family’s matriarch, and her three daughters were all treated for breast cancer over the past 25 years.

Karen Connolly was the first one diagnosed back in 1993. Her doctor at the time told her she was terminal. She then found Dr. Karen Kostroff, of Northwell Health Monter Cancer Center, who was willing to fight with her.

“I've been to funerals for women who have the same diagnosis as me,” said Connolly. “Breast cancer isn't a death sentence. It shouldn't be a death sentence.”

Juliana Armusewicz was diagnosed in 1994. Then Eva Overton, the youngest of the sisters, was diagnosed in 2003.

EXTENDED INTERVIEW: 3 sisters, mother who beat breast cancer reunite with surgeon

“You ask yourself…Why me? Why us? But then I realize that we are warriors,” said Eva.

The breast cancer gene, BRCA, does run in this family, and there is a concern for the next generation – including Juliana’s daughter, Courtney. She chose to have a bilateral mastectomy.

Dr. Kostroff says the now 28-year-old significantly lowered her chances of getting the disease that has been ravaging this family for decades.

“You have to take your health and life in your own hands,” says Dr. Kostroff.

The family says their message to everyone is never give up, never give in and always be your own advocate.

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