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Andrea Andrade Competes in Miss California USA Pageant While Fighting Colon Cancer

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On Sunday, contestants will compete in the Miss California USA pageant in Long Beach. One of these contestants is Andrea Andrade, who was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year.

Just 27 years old, Andrade has faced more health challenges than most experience in their lifetime. While visiting her grandmother in Mexico this past March for her great aunt’s funeral (who passed away from cancer), she suddenly started feeling pain. She thought it was associated with endometriosis, which she was currently being treated for.

Andrea Andrade fall fashion photo

“I woke up that morning, went into the restroom and bled out three pints of blood,” Andrade told The Mighty. “I was rushed to the hospital, unconscious because my blood pressure had dropped as well.” Her parents rushed to Mexico after doctors told them Andrade would not make it through the night.

Andrade received a blood transfusion, two colonoscopies and one endoscopy.

After getting the results of her biopsy, she and her family went back to the states and immediately scheduled surgery.

Andrade was in the hospital for two weeks, and that’s when she was told she had stage 3 colon cancer. While undergoing colorectal cancer surgery, doctors also found bacteria in her blood, and she needed to have a PICC line inserted.

According to the American Cancer Society, “Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the United States and the second leading cause in men. It is expected to cause about 50,260 deaths during 2017.”

Soon after her diagnosis, Andrade qualified for the Miss California USA pageant. It had been a lifelong dream of hers to compete, but she didn’t think she could do it because of treatment.

However, her doctors gave her permission to compete and to take part in workouts, as long as they weren’t too intense on her body.

“The doctors gave my parents a timeline that I would live six months to two years, so I decided to just go out and do this!” she said.

Andrade excitedly shared her official Miss California USA headshot on Facebook last month, as well as an inspiring message: “Girls, know that everything is possible in this world!!! If I’m going into this pageant with a chemo pipe running through my chest as I’ll be walking in a swimsuit and evening gown nauseous as hell, then believe me YOU CAN TOO!”

Fans on Twitter showed their support:

Andrade is scheduled for six months of chemo, but said she won’t let that stop her from fulfilling her lifelong dream. And she’s encouraging other young women to do the same.

“I encourage them to never lose their faith,” she says. “Always be positive and continue to get checked. This isn’t easy, not for me or for anyone around, but the harder we fight the more we will win.”

Photos courtesy of Andrea Andrade Facebook page

Originally published: December 3, 2017
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