Barbara Davis - Patient Story
"I had so much confidence in Dr. Boraas - she is the best."
— Barbara Davis
When Barbara Davis reflects on the spring of 2003, it was a busy time. She and her husband, Howard, were managing the activities and school work for their three daughters, who were about to finish 5th, 8th and 10th grades. However, life stopped for a split second when Barbara discovered a small lump during a breast self-exam in May. Coincidentally, she was scheduled for her yearly mammogram just 4 days later. Much to her surprise, the lump did not appear on the mammogram. An ultrasound was performed which indicated that there was, in fact, a tumor. With results in hand, Barbara was referred to Marcia Boraas, MD, a surgeon at Fox Chase who specialized in breast tumors.
"Dr. Boraas asked me to show her where I felt the lump," Barbara recalled. "She suspected that the lump I felt was benign, and that it was not the cancerous tumor. An MRI revealed two spots. The lump Barbara felt turned out to be benign, but the one behind it was in fact cancer. "I never would have known I had cancer if I didn't perform a breast self-exam," she added.
Barbara admits she was upset when she learned she had stage I breast cancer. "But I had so much confidence in Dr. Boraas," she added. "She is the best."
"I never would have known I had cancer if I didn't perform a breast self-exam."
Dr. Boraas performed a lumpectomy to remove the tumor, and a sentinel lymph node biopsy to complete the tumor staging. Because the initial margins were not clear, a second "touch up" procedure was required to confirm that no tumor remained in the breast.
Following her surgery, Barbara underwent a 4-cycle course of chemotherapy and 7 weeks of radiation to reduce the chance of recurrence. "I was in the midst of raising a family and would have done anything to increase my chances of survival," shared Barbara. She remained on Tamoxifen for the recommended 5 years after treatment.
"Fox Chase is a special place and my experience was intimate," Barbara explained. "Everyone treated me as an individual."
"Dr. Boraas is unbelievable. She is extremely skilled as a top surgeon but at the same time, she is a genuine, compassionate person," Barbara shared. "Through all of my appointments, she addressed every one of my concerns and never rushed me. She truly cares about each of her patients and the extraordinary treatment she provides is proof."
As the mother of three daughters, Barbara was concerned for their future, so she underwent comprehensive genetic counseling. "Thankfully, I do not carry the breast cancer gene. But after this experience, I am certain my daughters will be vigilant in their own breast care."
Mothers and Daughters Making a Difference
Barbara's youngest daughter, Eliza, was so touched by her mother's experience, that in the summer of 2009, this high school senior started a Philadelphia Chapter of Teens for the Cure through Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Grateful to be a co-survivor of the disease, Eliza made a promise to her generation to do whatever she could to help other teens and mothers in our community to empower their worlds to be breast-cancer free. At their inaugural event in the fall of 2009, Eliza and her mom chaired the "Tickled Pink" fundraiser and fashion show in Philadelphia, raising an impressive $110,000 for the organization.