PINK UP: Dealing with a rare form of breast cancer

DUDLEY, MO (KFVS) - There's no such thing as a one size fits all form of breast cancer.

When diagnosed, some tumors are further along and some are even very rare.

That was the diagnosis for a Stoddard County woman.

Debbie Powell was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in January 2015.

The form known as neuroendocrine carcinoma of breast, is so rare, doctors at Saint Francis Medical Center report only about 30 cases of this slow growing tumor have ever been recorded.

It was a surprise since Powell never expected to get cancer.

"I've always been the one to help," she said. "I've always been the one to be there for other people."

She was there when her aunts were diagnosed with cancer and her dad a year before.

Powell said it has been a very emotional roller coaster.

"The process, mine, is mind blowing. Don't let anyone tell you this that this is not soul searching because it is."

Now the roles are reversed, a place her family has taken with open arms.

"Family is family and at the end of the day they're the ones that you have to count on, you should always be able to count on each other," Ashley Amaro, a cousin of Debbie's, said.

From a raffle to local fundraisers, Amaro and other family members have led the way in raising money for Debbie's cancer treatment.

"The more positive everything went the better Debbie did,” Amaro said. “It worked hand in hand. The more things went better, the more people who joined in and the more tickets that were sold. Everything kept going so positively and she just kept getting, she was happier and she was doing so much better and it was fantastic."

Doctors removed the cancer.

However, Debbie must still go through several rounds of chemo and radiation.

She says with family by her side, the battle is easier to fight.

"I've always carried a lot of load,” Powell said. “I look at this as just another load to have to get through. You can't let it get to you. You have to keep going, even if you don't want to you have too."

For her, survival is the only option.

Debbie is a strong advocate of early detection.

She admits she didn't get checked out when her doctor advised her to three years before.

“Just because you're living your life right and have no vices or nothing, that doesn't mean it's not going to hit you,” Powell said. “It can happen to anybody."

Amaro said they've raised about $1,000.

She said the community has come together to help Debbie's cause.

If you're interested in donating, you can leave money for Debbie at Ozark Federal Credit Union in Poplar Bluff under Debbie Powell fundraising or you can email Ashley Amaro at


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