WEXFORD (KDKA) – It was a celebration of life for dozens of breast cancer survivors.

They gathered for an annual event and the night was filled with stories of inspiration.

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The diagnosis is heartbreaking.

“It’s devastating,” said breast cancer survivor Susan Liebert. “I cried for days.”

The treatments can be brutal.

Battling breast cancer is life-changing.

And no one knows more than the women at that event.

“As I look back on it, it was a very, very good learning experience for me,” said Liebert. “I learned a lot about myself and I’m much stronger for it.”

Breast cancer survivors gathered together at the sixth annual breast cancer survivorship program, hosted by Allegheny Health Network.

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It’s an event to celebrate survivors and their stories of courage, resilience and hope.

They not only inspired each other, they spent time with the physicians who treated them.

“It’s overwhelming, if you want to know the truth,” said Dr. William Poller, Dir. Of Breast Imaging at Allegheny Health Network. “People think that we don’t bring our patients home with us, but we do and then we see the survivors. We can celebrate survivors.”

Poller says during his career, incredible advances have been made in early detection, science and treatment.

“We started out with film screen mammography,” he said. “Then we went to digital mammography. Now we are going to tomosynthesis. We started out with a limited number of drugs for treatment.”

Now there is a whole host of options.

But even with that, physicians say there is still work to be done. As for these survivors, they are grateful, but pray there is eventually a cure.

“I do know a lot of people who haven’t survived the disease,” said Susan Backstrom, breast cancer survivor. “I have a sister-in-law and you know, it is, it’s wonderful to be here, but you cannot be here and not think of those who didn’t survive.”

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