I had no risk factors for getting breast cancer. That's why I reacted so casually when, after having a mammogram, I received a call encouraging me to return for further testing, followed by an appointment to meet with a breast surgeon.
Even after the surgeon explained the seriousness of my condition-extensive carcinoma throughout my breast with mastectomy as the only option-I didn't want to believe it.
Then it hit me. Did he say "cancer?" Malignant or benign? Mastectomy?
Dazed and confused and now starting to panic, I called my mother and my husband and simply "lost it." I am the first member on my mother's and father's side of the family to get cancer. I was shocked and scared.
Post surgery, I learned that, in addition to breast cancer, I had three invasive cancerous tumors, which had microscopically traveled, to my lymph nodes. The cancer was already traveling.
My only treatment option was chemotherapy, which provided me with the best chance of non-recurrence. I completed six months of chemotherapy and have been cancer-free since. That was five years ago.
I am alive for two reasons, thanks to the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center:
- My cancer was detected early during a routine mammogram.
- Superior technology detected microscopic cancer cells traveling in my system before I had any symptoms.
It was a great comfort that I did not need to travel outside of my community for superior treatment. All services are available at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital including a top-notch pool of dedicated oncology nursing staff, health care professionals and affiliations with important specialized cancer centers!
I pray you never get cancer. But if it happens, you can rest assured there is hope in your own backyard.