(WTNH) – Each week, News 8 is bringing you stories about a Connecticut breast cancer patient in an effort to raise awareness about the disease. A Monroe woman with an incredible attitude chose to take part in a trial at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute.

Jeanine Dufour is a mom that got remarried in 2019. She has a blended family and is full of life. Always on top of her screenings, she got her annual mammogram in March and was called back.

“I had to get an ultrasound,” Dufour said. “That’s when they confirmed it, that it came back positive for breast cancer and I was a little shocked. The first time you find that out, it’s a little shocking.”  

It turned out she had a large lump, but not on her breast.

“So when I saw where they were targeting, I started to feel there and it was kind of more under my armpit, so I didn’t think to go up that high,” Dufour said. “It was very noticeable like I could feel it through my clothes even.”

Dufour’s oncologist, Dr. Sara Dost from Hartford HealthCare’s Saint Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, gave her to option of joining the trial. Trials give patients a regimen they normally would not have access to while being followed closely by doctors.

“We’re looking to do chemotherapy before we do anything else, so before surgery, in hopes of trying to shrink things down before surgery, making it easier to do the surgery,” Dr. Dost said.

Dr. Dost says the goal is to give less chemotherapy in a shorter period of time, which would be four cycles instead of six.

“It’s a very personal decision when you’re signing up for a trial and it’s something even if you’re on a trial, you can always come off of it if something’s not working out for you,” Dr. Dost explained.

Dufour just wants to get back to her life as she knew it, making wonderful family memories. She was ready and willing to get started with the breast cancer trial.

“They were able to shrink the tumor down,” Dufour said. “The trial was very successful. They shrunk it down more than half, so I had a lumpectomy and they removed four lymph nodes.”

The areas came back negative for cancer and now Dufour has a few weeks of radiation ahead. She says Dr. Dost has helped her get through this trying and difficult time.

“She’s really in the thick of it right now and she’s just handled it with such grace, and I always look forward to our visits together,” Dr. Dost said.

“She really made me feel comfortable,” Dufour said. “She made me feel important, which was huge for me because it really put me at ease.”

Deciding to take part in a trial is a highly personal decision.

To learn more about how you can help to raise funds to support breast cancer research here in Connecticut, you can contact the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative. You can learn more here.