Ruth Sklar - Patient Story

"Being able to count on Dr. Boraas and Dr. Patel meant the world to me."

— Ruth Sklar

I received some bad news and some good news after a routine mammogram in June 2005. The bad news was that I had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer. The good news was that it had not spread.

I fell apart at the news; I was the first person in my family to have breast cancer. A close physician friend of mine recommended that I make an appointment with Dr. Marcia Boraas, a breast surgeon who was practicing at the University of Pennsylvania at the time and is now at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

When I went in for my first appointment with Dr. Boraas I had lots of questions, but I walked out reassured. Dr. Boraas said she would rather have my diagnosis than a diagnosis of a chronic condition such as diabetes. That really hit home with me. DCIS was just something to get through and put behind me.

My surgery was scheduled for August. Dr. Boraas performed the lumpectomy procedure and found no residual DCIS. Follow-consultations with a medical and a radiation oncologist determined that I needed no further treatment

Five years later, however, my annual breast MRI conducted in my hometown of Williamsport detected 6 uncertain areas. When 6 needle biopsies were performed, one detected lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), which is an abnormal cell growth that increases the risk of invasive breast cancer. I returned to Dr. Boraas’s office at Fox Chase. I decided I did not want to wait until I developed metastatic breast cancer and, having talking to her, opted for a mastectomy and reconstruction.

Dr. Boraas added Dr. Sameer A. Patel, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon to my medical team. Dr. Patel explained how he would perform the TRAM flap procedure, which takes fat from the abdominal area to reconstruct new breasts. I wasn’t worried at all. I trusted Dr. Boraas and Dr. Patel completely. In my mind, the surgery would make the problem go away.

I underwent the bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in February 2011, and stayed in the hospital 5 days. I had no pain to speak of and recovered rapidly. The nursing staff was just terrific, very caring and attentive. Dr. Boraas let me know there had been a small, unexpected area of DCIS in 1 breast, which the mastectomy had treated. I felt completely confident I had made the right decision

I have now retired from my 32-year career as a French teacher, and I try to spend at least one month each year in Paris. I have peace of mind. Being able to count on Dr. Boraas and Dr. Patel meant the world to me.

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