Patient Story

Joanna's story: Fighting for things worth fighting for


Joanna Koskey received her first breast cancer diagnosis 19 years ago when she was just 32 years old. At such a young age and with no family history of cancer, her diagnosis was a shock to her and her family. 

After multiple surgeries and a combination of radiation, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, Joanna completed her treatment for invasive ductal carcinoma and was declared cancer-free. However, nine years later, during a routine mammogram, doctors discovered some unusual patterns in her breast. 

FalconsJoanna thought to herself, “How can you get breast cancer in the same breast after radiation?” 

This time, Joanna was diagnosed with a different form of breast cancer, papillary carcinoma, in the same breast. Upon further testing, Joanna’s team of doctors recommended a double mastectomy. 

In July 2023, Joanna celebrated ten years cancer-free and is thankful and humbled through her experiences with Northside Hospital. 

She is amazed at how far cancer research has come and how much support is available to cancer patients. During her first diagnosis and treatment nearly 20 years ago, Joanna struggled to find wigs, clothing and support groups and networks for her to join. 

Now on the other side of treatment, Joanna has been heavily involved in the cancer community. 

She works at Atlanta Cancer Care and has volunteered with the Northside Hospital Auxiliary and Network of Hope for the past eight years. 

SpeakingShe also volunteers for Georgia Alliance for Breast Cancer (formerly It's The Journey) and recently walked and participated in her 10th Georgia 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. She even held the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute banner last year! 

In addition, during her second cancer battle, Joanna participated in a handful of activities at Cancer Support Community Atlanta, including their cooking and nutrition demos, movie nights, educational seminars and themed meals. 

Throughout both of her cancer journeys, Joanna surrounded herself with positive energy and people and offers that same advice to others experiencing a similar path. 

“Fight for things worth fighting for, otherwise don’t worry or get frustrated over the small things. Let it go," Joanna said. "Volunteer or give back in some way to an organization or a cause you are passionate about. Live in the moment! Enjoy everything!” 

Learn more about Northside Hospital Cancer Institute.

* The health story shared here may portray atypical results of survival for this type of cancer, given its severity and stage. Atypical results are considered surviving a cancer that has less than a 50% five-year survival rate. Patients should consult an expert to discuss specific treatment plans and the possible outcomes before making medical decisions. 

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