ASYVC Public Relations and Publicity Officer Paris Rosas had the opportunity to speak with cancer survivor and English Instructor Shannon Hopkins

For nearly four decades the country has recognized October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time annually devoted to educating everyone about breast cancer and the importance of early detection and access to timely, quality care.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. While organizations like the Susan G. Komen have helped drive down the mortality rate, more research and public support is still needed.

For Hopkins who has a family history of cancer and whose mother died from the tragic disease, raising awareness is key.

Shannon Hopkins is an instructor with a very tragic past who dealt with every emotional pain imaginable all because of breast cancer, such as loss, grief, and medical suffering.

She dealt with the loss of her mother and during one of her pregnancies the loss of her best friend. Due to a family genetic mutation Hopkins and her family have dealt with cancer for years. They have tried everything known to prevent it from spreading, including being as healthy as possible. Feeling defeated by every outcome she keeps on pushing, in memory of her mother, and for  her children.

The risk of cancer has impacted her so much, I feel it necessary to share her story, for her to be heard and see how her story can impact students and to be a part of something to help women in this state.

Hopkins’s journey has made so many marks in her life that it sounds almost surreal. The passing of her mother due to an aggressive tumor had a massive impact on her life her family who were there to witness the whole thing. Hopkins stressed the fact that having a good doctor can save your life or just finding a doctor who will listen. A doctor who will take the time to be there for their patient is the best one who can help anyone through the toughest of times no matter the disease. Be sure of your healthcare and think before you act. Make sure that whatever you are planning on doing with your body or your health, you are comfortable with the doctor’s training.  Complete background checks when it comes to the doctors that you choose because if you don’t, things may happen that you don’t expect.

Hopkins is known as not just a YVC breast cancer survivor but also a survivor of ovarian cancer. She has had to deal with the most tragic of losses and attended many orientations or conferences about breast cancer as a survivor giving out information to people about her life, about what’s it like being a survivor and to answer many questions. She encourages open communication about breast cancer affecting both men and women.  The title of Breast Cancer Survivor was something that she began to embrace after she got surgery to take out her breasts and ovaries in order to prevent the cancer from spreading any further. She wants people to be aware of all of the risk factors associated with breast and ovarian cancer.

Be aware of breast cancer risks. Your knowledge can help many survivors get a voice and feel seen and heard for what they lost due to breast cancer.  You can help them get the happiness they deserve by just being aware and sharing personal health information such as genetic mutations or a hereditary diseases in your family genetic history similar to the mutation that ran in Shannon Hopkins family.

There are ways to prevent ovarian cancer. If there is a genetic mutation, Hopkins said that she removed her ovary to lower the risk of passing it down to her daughter. She removed her breasts to lower the risk to all her offspring, her sons included. This was sad to hear or to think about because breasts can be symbolized as motherhood. With Hopkins having to remove the symbols of her motherhood, a big part of her was stripped away. However Hopkins did not let it get in her way.

Hopkins dealt with a lot of losses in her life and I think we can all agree that Hopkins is a very noble and strong woman who suffered a lot of loss. Shannon Hopkins wants to share her story that breast cancer isn’t something that but should be a movement for women out there to feel heard. Hopkins found strength and managed to appeal to strength and heroism in ways that came to fruition in the sense that she’s there, and you should be available for the people that you love and support them emotionally and effectively. It doesn’t matter if someone is a survivor of cancer. You should still be there for your loved during sickness  because the consequences are unknown. A life that you cherish or the life that you choose to live must be impactful for not just others around you but yourself as well.

Risk Factors

That cannot be prevented

  • Genetic mutations
  • Reproductive history
  • Family history/ ovarian cancer
  • Previous treatment/use of radiation therapy
  • Getting older

Risk factors that can be prevented

  • Keep a wealthy weight
  • Take daily check up to your doctors if you have a family
  • Be physically active
  • Refrain from consuming alcohol, tobacco or nicotine

Screening and Early Detection

  • Having mammograms after the age of 40. Useful for early detection of breast cancer

In the case for ovarian cancer

  • Feeling full quickly after starting to eat or lack of appetite
  • Indigestion or upset stomach
  • Feeling like you have to urinate more frequently or urgently than normal
  • Unexplained exhaustion
  • Bloating and/or constipation


  • Ovarian cancer

Support and Resources

Post authored by ASYVC Public Relations and Marketing Officer Paris Rosas