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My Story

Connie | age 79
Former teacher
Philadelphia, PA
16 years, 4 months since her MammoSite treatment.

My journey with breast cancer began in November 2001 with participation in the STAR study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifen for the prevention of breast cancer. I was at high risk because both my mother and sister have had breast cancer. A requirement of the STAR study was a breast examination twice a year with my doctor and counseling with a nurse in charge of the project. During my breast exam in April 2003, a lump was found in my right breast. My doctor immediately referred me to Dr. Thomas Frazier, a breast surgeon, for further evaluation. He aspirated the lump and atypical cells were found. His recommendation was a lumpectomy in order to further evaluate these cells. The report came back positive for breast cancer. I was very surprised, but not shocked since I was very aware of my risk due to my family history. Dr. Frazier made me aware of the different treatment options, including MammoSite. He recommended I make an appointment with Dr. Marisa Weiss, a radiation oncologist, to evaluate me and MammoSite radiation as part of my treatment. I consulted with her, I felt so supported and cared for, I felt she was there to help me through this process. Much thought and evaluation of treatment options were thoroughly discussed. I agreed to be a part of the MammoSite study and if my surgery to evaluate my lymph nodes was successful, I would begin my MammoSite radiation. I had a second opinion from another surgeon who was familiar with MammoSite radiation and he agreed that this was an excellent treatment for me.

Surgery plans were made to take out the sentinel node and at the same time insert the necessary balloon. In preparation for this minimally invasive surgery, I was given the name of a very kind and helpful woman who had had MammoSite radiation. I called her and she explained in detail the treatment and how easy it would be, only 5 days twice a day. Her description was clear and thorough; she made me feel comfortable and supported. Three weeks of treatment, two surgeries and 5 days of radiation and my treatment was over. Surgery and the beginning of the MammoSite treatment went so well I went camping for three days in the rain. Three weeks after my lumpectomy I had my second surgery and MammoSite radiation. My treatment was over and I felt great.

I returned to my dragonboat team the next summer and now look forward to a breast cancer festival in Australia. I was grateful to be able to benefit from this advanced technique in the treatment of breast cancer. The recovery period was short and the next summer I was able to return to my dragonboat team, but this time I was a member of the breast cancer boat. This team is composed of 22 breast cancer survivors who have been my support and encouragement. I have participated in many dragonboat festivals with them and look forward to going to Australia this fall with my wonderful team. Life has returned to normal but it is so much more enriching and rewarding. I look forward to more new adventures after the challenge of climbing the rock wall on my cruise to Alaska, paddling 10 miles at dragonboat camp and my latest and biggest Ė parasailing in Florida. I canít wait to see what new journeys there will be tomorrow, next week, or next month. Life is good.

This profile is solely the words of the person who received MammoSite Targeted Radiation Therapy to treat breast cancer. Note that this profile is specific to this particular person, and experiences will vary.