Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Bodybuilder medals in first competition after undergoing 20 weeks of chemo

(Galina Atroshchenko/iStock)

Story at a glance

  • In 2018, Erica Langley was training to become a bodybuilder when she noticed a hard lump in her left breast and was subsequently diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer.
  • Langley’s treatment included 20 weeks of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, intravenous targeted cancer therapy and reconstructive surgery on both of her breasts.
  • In May 2021, Langley competed in two bodybuilding competitions, placing first in one category.

A bodybuilder medaled in her first competition after undergoing 20 weeks of chemotherapy.   

In 2018, Erica Langley was training to become a bodybuilder when she noticed a hard lump in her left breast. She visited her local health clinic and a mammogram revealed HER2-positive breast cancer in two areas. 

HER2-positive breast cancers are typically more aggressive, according to the American Cancer Society, as this specific type of breast cancer contains a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which boosts the production of cancer cells.  

“I was scared,” Langley told “Good Morning America.” “And that’s when I really depended on the support of my family and close friends because just emotionally I was a wreck.” 


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Following her diagnosis, doctors determined Langley’s treatment plan would need to include 20 weeks of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, intravenous targeted cancer therapy and reconstructive surgery on both of her breasts.  

“Don’t be naive,” Langley said. “Prior to this, I was working out, I didn’t abuse my body, I didn’t drink excessively or do drugs. It can happen to anyone.” 

Then, in November 2020, following two years of cancer treatment, Langley decided to begin training for bodybuilding competitions again. 

In May 2021, Langley competed in two bodybuilding competitions, placing first in one category. 

“I can accept, you know, giving something my all and not quite accomplishing what I set out to do,” Langley said of her journey, “but I can’t accept not trying.” 


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