Two-time breast cancer survivor emphasizes early detection to save lives

October 23, 2023
Uri Martos’ first experience with cancer was when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer during her sophomore yeaHawaii volunteer Uri Martos during her cancer treatment with her motherr of college, in 1998. Thankfully, after a mastectomy and chemotherapy, her mother is still surviving and thriving to this day. Because of her mother’s cancer, Uri joined a high-risk cancer group at her medical clinic and received her first mammogram at age 35. While the scans came back clean that first year, when she returned the following year in 2014, they found microcalcifications in her right breast. After a long wait for a biopsy, Uri heard the three words no one ever wants to hear: “You have cancer.”  

Uri underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and oral treatment which provided over five years of clean scans and she was declared cancer-free. During this time, she was recruited to join ACS CAN as a volunteer, having already been involved in ACS Relay for Life. “Being involved with ACS and [ACS] CAN was very therapeutic for me in those years following. It was great to be surrounded by others who have lived the same experience that I had. But my heart really filled up by being able to fight for survivors, honor our lost loved ones and help prevent more people from hearing those same three words.” 

Unfortunately, in 2021, Uri’s breast cancer returned and metastasized to her liver.  “I'll be completely honest with you that it has been even harder this time around. I was sad, angry and bitter for a while. I didn't even feel like doing any ACS and [ACS] CAN work for months. So, I gave myself some space and took a short break.” Thankfully, after that break, Uri returned to ACS CAN in 2022 and began attending events like the State Lead Ambassador Summit and Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. She is currently undergoing treatment and serving as Ambassador Constituent Team Lead with ACS CAN Hawaii and sits on the ACS Hawaii Guam Board.  

Hawaii volunteer Uri Martos during 2023 Leadership Summit and Lobby DayUri’s work with ACS CAN has been impactful and helped cancer patients and their families, both in Hawaii and across the nation. She knows the value of sharing her story. “Inside of each of us is a powerful voice that can save lives and help fight for more equity in healthcare around our nation. Your powerful voice, when added to the collective impact of our many voices at ACS CAN will make a difference. Be brave and come join our fight against cancer.” 

We asked Uri what message she had for people during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Her advice: “Learn how to do a self-examination and be diligent about it. Please don't skip your checkups and scans.  Early detection is the reason I am here and why so many survivors are thriving today.” More resources for breast cancer can be found on the ACS Breast Cancer Page. 

Early detection saves lives. This is why ACS CAN is currently advocating for increases to the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. The program offers screening to uninsured and underserved women free of cost. Uri recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to ask her federal lawmakers to support legislation that will benefit cancer patients and their families. “As someone who is here today because of an early detection program, I cannot say enough about how important they are. These programs are vital to finding and treating these cancers early on. Because of these programs we will have more precious time spent with our loved ones and that is the greatest gift.”   

You can act to support breast cancer patients nationwide. Sign our petition asking Congress to support increases to the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.  

Sign the petition today