Mother, 55 and daughter 25, share heartbreaking details of their JOINT breast ... trends now
One of the biggest nightmares for any parent is their child being diagnosed with cancer.
But for 63-year-old Doreen Wesley from Ohio, watching her 33-year-old daughter undergo cancer treatment was uniquely horrific - because just a few years earlier, she'd been in the same boat.
The disease brought her closer to her daughter, Madeline, then 25, who flew 4,000 miles from her home in London to support her mother through 16 rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and a double mastectomy. Thankfully, Doreen was declared cancer-free within a year.
But six years later, Madeline was performing a regular self-check when she found a lump. Five days before her 32nd birthday, she was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of breast cancer - triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
" class="c6" scrolling="no"
Only one in 10 women with this type of disease survive more than five years if it has already spread when spotted. In other types of breast cancer, the figure is one in three.
TNBC tends to grow and spread faster - and is more common in women under age 40, black women, and those with genetic vulnerability.
Madeline credited her mother's illness for the vital early detection of her disease - she practiced regular breast checks following Doreen's diagnosis.
'The immediate feeling is denial, Madeline said. 'It's like, 'This can't be happening. This can't be real. And then, there's fear that kicks in.'
Unsurprisingly, the hardest part of the diagnosis was breaking the news to her mother.
'I just said, mom - come.' Madeline had recently moved to Bradenton, Florida - 240 miles from her mother's home in Miami.
Doreen said: 'There was no question that I was going to be there and care for her as she cared for me. She's my baby.
'It was far more difficult to hear that she diagnosed than to hear my own diagnosis, and that's mostly because I knew what she faced. It wasn't an unknown...'
Ms Wesley (here) was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2015 during a routine mammogram. She underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation, and a double mastectomy
Mother and daughter Madeline and Doreen both traveled to care for one another as they underwent treatment for breast cancer
Like her mother, Madeline underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. However, her age meant she faced a different set of challenges.
'My mom was wonderful and took care of me throughout the journey,' said Madeline. 'But she couldn’t relate to being presented with fertility options or what it’s like to be in your 30s and battling triple-negative breast cancer,' she told Moffitt Cancer Center, where she and her mother were both treated.
However, Ms Mordarski found support groups for young TNBC patients going through similar struggles, such as freezing her eggs and trying to date while battling cancer.
'I just kept thinking I'm so thankful for my life. I'm so thankful for the people in my life. I'm so thankful for the experiences that I've had. But I'm not done yet. This can't be it,' she said.
Madeline Mordarski (left) and her mother, Doreen Wesley, were both diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer
In July, the family received the news that Madeline was cancer-free - although she will continue to undergo maintenance chemotherapy until the end of the year.
'For us, to hear that she was cancer-free was probably the best news of my life,'said Doreen.
It is not clear if the pair shared genetic characteristics that made them more likely to inherit breast cancer.
For instance, women with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes - which affected Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie - can increase the risk of breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers by up to 85 per cent.
A child of a parent with a BRCA mutation has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the gene.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in both the US and the world. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates there will be more than 300,000 new cases this year, along with 43,700 deaths.