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My Story

Jan | age 71
Accounting/Administrative
Kent, OH
12 years, 9 months since her MammoSite treatment.
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I was a healthy, active 58 year old woman and in February 2006 I went for my regular annual mammogram. A week later I was asked to have a follow-up mammogram at the Women's Health Breast Imaging Center in Akron, Ohio. I followed up and it was discovered that I had a tiny cluster of calcium deposits on my left breast not much larger then the end of my fingertip. In fact I could not see it without a magnifying glass. I was told to follow up with a surgeon for a biopsy. I did not know any surgeons as I have not had any surgeries since I was 27 when I had a tubal ligation. I called my OBGYN and he gave me the names of a couple of surgeons. I selected Dr. Gary Williams who specializes in Breast Surgery and also is affiliated with the Women's Heath Center in Akron, Ohio. About 2 weeks later I had a "Core" biopsy which was a less invasive biopsy and only required a small band aid and no stitches. They explained every step of the procedure they were doing and even showed me the pictures they took of the cells they removed which was probably almost all the calcium deposits. Within the week I got the news my cells were pre-cancerous and needed to be removed.

Now let me tell you this was the middle of March and I was told it would involve removal of the cells and then 6 weeks of radiation. Now my husband and I had reservations (paid for in advance) for the middle of May to go to Las Vegas. I told Dr. Williamsí assistant this and she said we'll see what we can do. Well she called me back and set up the surgery for March 28, 2006 and also informed me of a new treatment. The Dr. had not performed one but was waiting for the right candidate and I might fit the picture. He met with my husband and I on a Saturday morning and explained the treatment. He told me I was a good candidate for this procedure but there were some "ifs" and he would not know if we could do this until he performed my lumpectomy. I also had an appointment with the radiologist and met the nuclear physicist that would be working with me.

I had my surgery on March 28. Dr. Williams advised he would not know until Thursday if the parameters were good and if he could insert the MammoSite on Friday. Everything came back a "GO". My parameters all came back good, so the MammoSite was inserted on Friday. Since I was his first patient to have this I had lots of people watching which included the Dr., his nurse and assistant, a member from Cytyc (the medical device company that developed the MammoSite) and the nuclear physicist that would be working with me on my radiation. The insertion of the MammoSite was perfect. My husband was a saint. He was my nurse since I could not see the actual surgery site. He took care of dressing and cleaning of the incision and catheter.

They gave me the weekend to rest up and started my radiation on Tuesday. I had an initial cat scan and some x-rays taken to be sure everything was in the right place. I had 2 treatments per day 6 hours apart. Because I worked 10 minutes from the hospital I worked every day. I had a total of 11 cat scans, 1 before every treatment. 10 radiation treatments of 8 minutes each. I had a technician, the nuclear physicist, radiologist and a nurse assigned to me. They were right there taking care of me through every treatment. Asking me questions, making sure I was comfortable and they were wonderful. 5 days later right after my last treatment they pulled the catheter out. My wound closed up within a matter of 2 days.

The people I worked with at the Summa Hospital Radiology department in Akron, Ohio, and the Women's Health Center were the most wonderful, compassionate people I have ever seen. They kept me calm and together during all the treatments, etc. I can't express enough my gratefulness to them. My doctor answered all my questions and was up front with everything he was going to do, he was great.

The Pros of this type of surgery: It's fast, I was able to work during my treatments. I have not had much side effects, some fluid developed in the actual lumpectomy site, and had to be drained a few times. Everything was on an outpatient basis. From the time of my surgery to the end of my treatments was about 3 weeks. I continued all my normal activities (no exercise), but I sing and am taking voice lessons and am a soloist at my church and in several choirs and I continued during my treatments. And I was able to go to Las Vegas in May.

The Cons: It has discomfort, but I can't say I was in actual pain. I couldn't bathe for 2 weeks (bummer). I'm still healing, but I think that would be with any type of cancer surgery.

Would I do it again, ABSOLUTELY. Would I recommend it to others, YOU BET.

Well that's basically my story. I think the only thing I would suggest is to have a friend or companion that will help you (my husband was mine). Have a good surgeon and the best hospital to work with you.

Jan, cancer survivor.

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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.