MENU

Breast Cancer Patient Stories

Deborah Gleason

Breast Cancer

Deborah Gleason

Breast Cancer

Deborah Gleason learned she had breast cancer in 2000 when she felt a lump in her breast. A breast surgeon performed a lumpectomy and a quadrantectomy to remove about one-quarter of herbreast around the site of the tumor, and she was fine until 2010, when she felt a lump again, this time in her right breast. Deborah underwent a double mastectomy, but when she developed lumphedema, she was referred to Fox Chase Cancer Center. There, Deborah underwent breast reconstruction using the TRAM flap procedure, as well as a lymph node transfer. Today, she is cancer free, and returned to her full-time job in 2015 at the age of 65. "I urge women who need breast reconstruction and who may have developed lymphedema to inform themselves about their options. A place like Fox Chase has all the state-of-the-art treatments and the surgeons who can offer them," she said. "It is a real treasure in the Philadelphia area, and I know it was the best place for me."

Dina Gillis

Breast Cancer

Dina Gillis

Breast Cancer

The summer of 2008 should have been an exciting time for Gillis family. Dina, her husband Bill, and their 3-year old son, Christopher, were expecting an addition to their family - a new baby. But 16-weeks into her pregnancy, Dina felt a lump in her breast. She brought it to her obstetrician's attention, hoping it was related to her pregnancy. Instead, Dina was sent for an ultrasound which confirmed the lump and the need for a biopsy. Pregnant and 36, Dina learned she had Stage II breast cancer.

Andrea Snyder

Breast Cancer

Andrea Snyder

Breast Cancer

I had a lumpectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy at Fox Chase Cancer Center in 2006 after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Five years later I was cancer free and feeling good. I had continued to go back to Fox Chase for follow-up care, even though it is a 2-hour drive from my home in Stroudsburg, PA.

Tracy Gatto

Breast Cancer

Tracy Gatto

Breast Cancer

In 2011 at the age of 28, Tracy Gatto learned she had breast cancer after she discovered a lump in her breast. She sought a second opinion from a specialist at Fox Chase Cancer Center and immediately felt that was where she wanted to seek treatment. Tracy underwent chemotherapy, followed by surgery and reconstruction. Because of the BRCA1 genetic mutuation she most likely inherited from her father, Tracy had increased risk of ovarian cancer. She worked with the Risk Assessment Program, where she was referred to a surgical gynecologist to discuss the possibility of undergoing a prophylactic oophorectomy to remove her ovaries. Today, Tracy is doing well and even took part in Paws for the Cause, an annual dog walk and fundraiser hosted by Fox Chase, to give back. "It really takes a special person to work at Fox Chase. Everyone I met had a smile on their face and was incredibly positive," she said. "As a receptionist, I knew it can be a struggle to stay positive all day long. It’s hard to make cancer a positive experience, but I never left feeling discouraged."

Lael Swank

Breast Cancer

Lael Swank

Breast Cancer

On March 9, 2010, Lael Swank celebrated her 39th birthday, and within the week she noticed a lump in her left breast while taking a shower. "It couldn't be," she thought. With no family history of breast cancer, Lael figured she'd get her first mammogram the following year, when she turned 40. Two days later, Lael and her husband, Randy, traveled to Philadelphia to attend a Michael Bublé concert, and that evening she revealed the news to her husband.

Pages

Connect with Fox Chase