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Breast Cancer Patient Stories

Denise Portner

Breast Cancer

Denise Portner

Breast Cancer

In May 2008, Denise Portner, 45, underwent genetic testing that showed she carried the BRCA2 mutation, just like her mother and aunt, who had breast cancer. Genetic counselors at this hospital advised her to consider prophylactic oophorectomy, a surgical procedure to remove one or both of her ovaries to help reduce her risk for breast and ovarian cancers. Denise decided to get a second opinion from the Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and on June 16, 2009, she learned that she had breast cancer, which changed her treatment plans. Instead, she had a double mastectomy that summer, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and, later, the originally planned oophorectomy. "It was a challenging ride, but I always felt that I was getting the best possible treatment and that I was fortunate to have a world-class cancer center within a 10-minute drive of my home," Denise said. "If I had not been aware of my genetic status, I would not have had the MRI and would not have known that I had breast cancer."

Rosella Nelson

Breast Cancer

Rosella Nelson

Breast Cancer

In 2007, Rosella Nelson was diagnosed with breast cancer after years of being treated for noncancerous fibroids in her right breast. A general surgeon she met with recommended a double mastectomy within a week, which meant removal of both of her breasts and her lymph nodes. Anxious for a second opinion, Rosella scheduled an appointment at Fox Chase Cancer Center, where her surgeon recommended a much less invasive surgery to remove the tumor. Because the surgery was an outpatient procedure, she was able to go home the same day. And because it was Stage 2 cancer and had not metastasized, she did not need any additional treatment. "I can’t say enough about everyone at Fox Chase. There was not one person I met that wasn’t helpful, supportive, and knowledgeable," Rosella said. "I feel very protected in the Fox Chase environment, and I feel that they really care for me and about me. Thanks to Fox Chase, I have both of my breasts and my life to prove it."

Patti Rose

Breast Cancer

Patti Rose

Breast Cancer

At 36, Patti Rose, a wife and mother to seven children, was shocked to learn she had a rare form of breast cancer. Because her husband works in construction and had done several projects for Fox Chase Cancer Center, they knew right away Fox Chase was the right place for Patti's treatment. At Fox Chase, Patti underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy, followed by a lumpectomy and additional surgery. The experience was extremely difficult, but Patti credits the staff at Fox Chase for giving her a positive outlook and helping her get through it. Today, she is cancer free and could not be more pleased with the treatment she received. "Fox Chase helped me to be positive. If I didn’t have that connection with doctors and nurses and even the security guard that I would talk to every time I was there, I think I would have felt more afraid," she said. "Knowing all those people were praying for me, thinking of me, and trying to get me through it made me feel like I could overcome it."

Diana Robinson

Breast Cancer

Diana Robinson

Breast Cancer

"After two unsuccessful biopsies, I was told I had breast cancer."

Jill Scheetz

Breast Cancer

Jill Scheetz

Breast Cancer

At the age of 37, in 2002, Jill Scheetz was just getting back into shape after the birth of her two daughters. She considered herself to be physically active and a healthy eater. "My only vice was a caffeinated iced tea almost every day," shared Jill. Although it doesn't sound terrible, her doctor recommended she stay away from caffeine because she had a benign tumor which was removed from her breast when she was 18. When her left breast began to hurt, Jill made an appointment for a mammogram (it had been five years since her last one).

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