Two-time breast cancer survivor spreads the word about the importance of breast screening.
Two-time breast cancer survivor Geraldine Ryan, 64, says a routine mammogram and follow-up screening saved her life - "Both times, my cancer was caught early. I consider myself very lucky, and I want to spread the word about the importance of breast screening."
Shortly after her 60th birthday, Geraldine learned about a suspicious finding on her annual mammogram. Within days, biopsy results came back positive. She had breast cancer, but it was caught early. Doylestown Health surgeon Brett M. Harrison, MD, FACS, removed Geraldine’s cancer with a breast-conserving lumpectomy, followed by radiation therapy.
Paying close attention to Geraldine's follow-up care, Dr. Harrison recommended breast ultrasounds in between annual mammograms, which led to the discovery of Geraldine's second cancer. "This cancer was aggressive and unrelated to the first. I'm grateful that the ultrasound found my cancer before it spread," explains Geraldine, who underwent another lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy.
Feeling Secure and Supported with Doylestown Health
"I can't say enough about the care I received. Doylestown Health offered a 24-hour phone line, which I called when I developed mouth ulcers due to chemotherapy. It was so reassuring," says Geraldine, who also took advantage of Cancer Fit. Supported by philanthropy, Cancer Fit is a 12-week fitness program offered to cancer survivors free of charge. "Cancer Fit provided an opportunity to connect with others going through a similar experience," says Geraldine. Exercising increased her energy levels, helping her keep up with her 4-year-old twin grandchildren and her golf game. "I'll be 65 this year, and I feel well again, which is great!" she says.
Understanding Breast Screening Options
"The earlier you detect breast cancer and the smaller it is when you find it, the easier and more effective the treatment will be. The goal is to find cancer before it spreads outside the breast," explains radiologist Michele Kopach, MD, director of the Women's Diagnostic Center.
"Mammography is the only medical imaging screening proven to reduce breast cancer deaths in average risk women," says Dr. Kopach. "Doylestown Health follows the American College of Radiology and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines to begin annual screening (mammography) at age 40 for women at average risk." Doylestown Health also offers tomosynthesis (3-D) breast mammographic technology.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI offers an extra level of screening after a mammogram for patients at high risk. This includes patients with known BRCA1 or BRCA2, those who have had chest irradiation for lymphoma, or who have had scoliosis monitoring/surgery, those with a very strong family history of breast cancer, and those with previous breast cancer. Doylestown Health offers advanced 3T MRI with Ambient Experience.
Screening breast ultrasound may be used in addition to a mammogram for patients with dense breast tissue or patients with a moderate risk.
Physical Breast Exam
Doylestown Health offers its Cancer Risk and Genetics Program through a partnership with the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network at Jefferson, including free consultation about individual breast cancer risk. Call 267-885-1864 for information.
Now Offering: Natural Tissue Breast Reconstruction with DIEP Flap
Doylestown Health now offers deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap breast reconstruction performed simultaneously with mastectomy, so a woman can awaken from surgery with a natural-looking breast with its own blood supply, requiring significantly less follow-up care than artificial implants.
Harvesting skin and fat cells from the abdomen, microsurgery fellowship-trained plastic surgeon Joseph F. Tamburrino, MD, transfers the tissue as a free flap to the chest immediately after mastectomy to form the new breast.
DIEP flap reconstruction is available for patients undergoing cancer treatment and for women who opt for mastectomy as a preventive measure (prophylactic mastectomy) due to risk factors such as genetics and family history, according to Doylestown Health breast surgeon Donna Angotti, MD, FACS.
Doylestown Health offers comprehensive breast reconstruction services with options including artificial implants, nipple reconstruction and free flap procedures using the patient’s native tissue. Our plastic and reconstructive surgeons work with the patient and breast surgeon to achieve optimal clinical results and the aesthetic outcome the patient desires.
About Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute
Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute offers patients the quality care they expect from a leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment — close to home. Accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, and a member of Jefferson's Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network, our board-certified physicians and oncology-certified practitioners provide comprehensive, coordinated care and services for the full range of cancer diagnoses including breast, lung and gastrointestinal cancers.
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