• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Mastectomy can’t keep her out of competitive weightlifting

December 10, 2017

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Marianne Huebner feared her days of competitive weightlifting were over. Her care team at Mayo Clinic had other ideas.


Marianne Huebner, Ph.D., was just a few months into trying the sport of weightlifting when she discovered a small lump on one of her breasts during a self-exam.

"I thought it was a cyst, so I didn't do anything right away," she says. Instead she waited until her upcoming annual health exam before mentioning it to her primary care physician. "I was then sent for a biopsy, and it turned out to be cancerous."

An associate professor of statistics and probability for Michigan State University, Marianne had spent a considerable amount of time analyzing breast cancer-related data. During her time as a senior associate consultant at Mayo Clinic, she was part of a research collaboration with Mayo surgeons. That research, however, did little to prepare Marianne for her own breast cancer diagnosis.

"At the time of a cancer diagnosis, one experiences an onslaught of information, uncertainty and confusion," she says. "There were so many questions I'd never thought about before."

One of the first questions that ran through Marianne's mind was not of her immediate health or treatment plan. "My initial reaction was, 'Oh, no!'" she says. "'How can I possibly do weightlifting now?'" Read the rest of Marianne's story.
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This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

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