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My Story

Sharon | age 63
Springfield, MO
11 years, 1 month since her MammoSite treatment.

I am the daughter of parents who are both cancer survivors. My mother has had breast cancer twice but is cancer free today! My father is a prostate cancer survivor, and I have a younger sister who was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a lumpectomy. She is cancer free today as well!

I knew that I was at high risk for cancer, yet nothing prepares you to receive that diagnosis. Having family members who were survivors, I knew that great strides were being made in the area of cancer research and my hopes of a cure were great. I was however concerned about what methods of treatment would be considered and what side effects I might have to endure.

When I spoke with my surgeon, we discussed the options of mastectomy or lumpectomy followed by radiation treatments. I wanted to avoid mastectomy if possible, and chose to try the lumpectomy. At first, the surgeon did not think I was a candidate for MammoSite therapy due to the size of my tumor. I was currently teaching school and did not know how I would handle six weeks of radiation treatments, but thought that was my only option.

After several ultrasounds, the surgeon discussed the possibility of MammoSite treatments with his colleagues who felt it was a possible alternative for me. I was relieved to know that I could receive my treatments in 5 days rather than the 6-week external radiation. In addition to the convenience, I understood that the internal radiation treatments would have fewer side effects with less chance of skin irritation, burning, and fatigue.

My surgeon placed the balloon on a Friday morning and I went home. I had some discomfort, but no significant pain. A scan was done the following Monday, to be sure the placement was ready for treatments. I had my first treatment the following Thursday. I finished my five treatments the next week on Wednesday and the balloon was removed.

My tumor was rather deep in the tissue, so the placement of the balloon was deep and a little uncomfortable, but I was awake the whole time and went home within a couple of hours of the procedure. I was a little nervous about having the open port, but found that there was little discomfort. The treatments themselves were totally pain free and lasted approximately 7-9 minutes. I took two treatments a day, six hours apart, and simply went about daily activities in my home between times.

I was very fortunate to have a supportive husband who assisted me with daily dressing of the site and basic chores around the house. I probably could have done those jobs, but was thankful that I did not have to do them and could simply rest.

I had few, if any side effects. There was some slight discoloration of the skin, but I did not suffer the fatigue that I hear many radiation patients talk about. I was back at school and teaching again the week after my treatments!

I recently finished the school year and am preparing to teach summer school while helping one son pack for a trip to Hawaii and assisting my soon-to-be daughter-in-law with final wedding plans! Life is as busy as ever and I am thankful for every opportunity God has given for me to enjoy it.

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.