Bodybuilder & breast cancer survivor wins medal in 1st competition after 20 weeks of chemo

Bodybuilder & breast cancer survivor wins medal in 1st competition after 20 weeks of chemo
Bodybuilder & breast cancer survivor wins medal in 1st competition after 20 weeks of chemo.

An aspiring bodybuilder who was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 has made an incredible recovery, winning gold in her first post-chemo competition.

Erica Langley was training for her first body building competition when she noticed a lump in her breast after a workout. Langley initially assumed it was a pulled muscle but after it remained for several weeks she was advised to get a mammogram. The scan detected HER2-positive breast cancer in her left breast.

According to the American Cancer Society, HER2-positive breast cancer is a type of breast cancer that “tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). This protein promotes the growth of cancer cells.”

HER2-postive breast cancer is notably more aggressive than other forms of breast cancer but still responds to chemotherapy.

“I was scared, […] I really depended on the support of my family and close friends because just emotionally I was a wreck”, said Langley.

With the support of her loved ones Langley began treatment with a team of doctors at The University of Chicago Medicine. The treatment plan began with 20 weeks of chemotherapy followed by intravenous targeted therapy. She also underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery on both breasts. Though the cancer was spotted only in her left breast removing both breasts significantly reduces the chance of the cancer returning.

In November 2020, Langley returned to the gym and began training again with her coach, Bolo Young. “I can accept, you know, giving something my all and not quite accomplishing what I set out to do, but I can’t accept not trying,” Langley said.

In May 2021 Langley finally entered and won 1st place in her very first body building competition.

One the doctors that treated her, Dr. Hahn, encouraged her to share her story. Langley and all the medical staff at the University of Chicago Medicine encourage everyone to get regular screening and pay attention to their bodies.

“Don’t be naive,” she said. “Prior to this, I was working out, I didn’t abuse my body, I didn’t drink excessively or do drugs. It can happen to anyone.”

Langley is now safely cancer-free and back to doing what she loves.

Like this story? Share with friends: