Sharon Huff is a retired schoolteacher in Ontario, California, where she and her husband live and enjoy an active lifestyle. Like many women around the world, the pandemic disrupted her routine mammography screening, delaying her appointment by a few months. When Sharon was finally able to have a mammogram, a suspicious lesion was discovered. She underwent a biopsy and learned she would need a lumpectomy to remove an early stage cancerous tumor.
“A close friend and I are going through this breast cancer journey together. She is a few weeks ahead of me in her diagnosis, so I have learned a lot from her experience,” Sharon said. “She had a wire localization and told me, in her words, it was going to freak me out. She had the wire put in very early the morning of her surgery and had to be still, so the wire wouldn’t move. Moving the wire could result in not being able to accurately locate the cancer.”
It came time for Sharon’s surgical consult with Dr. Jonsson at Kaiser Ontario Medical Center, and she was expecting to learn of her surgery date and hear about the wire localization procedure. This weighed heavily on Sharon’s mind. When Dr. Jonsson told her she would be having a wire-free localization, she was pleasantly surprised and relieved.
Although Sharon has an extensive educational background and is an avid reader and researcher, she had never heard of a reflector placement with SCOUT®. She immediately turned to the internet. Sharon read everything she could find about the procedure and watched videos to familiarize herself with what the reflector looked like and how it was placed.
When it was time for her reflector placement with Dr. Nguyen of the radiology department at Kaiser Fontana Medical Center, she was well informed and prepared. “The procedure to implant the reflector was easy and did not take long at all,” Sharon commented. “I was very impressed.”
COVID-19 adds additional stress to any medical procedure. In Sharon’s case, her husband was not allowed to accompany her and instead had to wait in the car. On the day of surgery, she only had to arrive two hours prior to the surgery start time, making her husband’s wait time much shorter than if she would have needed a wire localization on the day of surgery. “Having that little reflector made our day so much smoother and shorter,” Sharon recounted.
The surgery was a success. Sharon happily reported that her surgeon had removed all the cancer, so her margins were clear, and her lymph nodes were negative. She can now quickly move on to any additional treatments. “I can only imagine that being able to precisely find that little cancer played a big part in my good outcome,” Sharon said.
When asked to share pearls of wisdom for individuals going through the breast cancer journey, Sharon had three: inform yourself, make your own decisions, and advocate for yourself. “When you are informed, you hold the power,” Sharon said. “And you can feel better about your choices.”
Disclaimer: This information is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician regarding any medical questions or conditions.