Shari Lynn - Patient Story
"The doctor noticed calcifications on my mammogram and sent me for a biopsy."
— Shari Lynn, Breast Patient
In 2002, Shari Lynn's husband, Mark, accepted a new job in another state. Together, Shari and Mark made the decision to move their family from New York to Pennsylvania. Shari was like many other moms in her situation. In preparing for the move, she scheduled routine doctor appointments on Long Island so they would not feel pressured to find new physicians right away.
During her routine gynecology appointment, she had a mammogram. At age 37, Shari did not think breast cancer was a real possibility. Turns out she was wrong. "The doctor noticed calcifications on my mammogram and sent me for a biopsy. I was diagnosed with breast cancer," recalled Shari.
At the time, Shari was preparing her 9-year-old twin boys and 7-year-old daughter for their move to Pennsylvania. "The move was a great distraction, not just for my kids, but for me too. I didn't have time to dwell on the breast cancer because I had to set up my family in a new town," said Shari.
Shari's next step was a lumpectomy to remove the tumor. Because her margins were not clear, Shari decided to undergo a mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction. These surgeries were performed on Long Island.
Shari consulted doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City to recommend an oncologist in the Philadelphia area. "They (MSKCC) suggested I go to Fox Chase Cancer Center because they share many of the same philosophies and the same level of care," said Shari. That was all she needed to hear.
Her first appointment at Fox Chase was with Dr. Lori Goldstein, director of the Breast Evaluation Center. "The first step Dr. Goldstein took was to test the tumor, which my doctors on Long Island did not do," explained Shari. Because Shari's tumor was ER (estrogen receptors) positive, Dr. Goldstein prescribed Tamoxifen for the next 5 years to reduce the chance of recurrence.
"I feel so fortunate that I am under Dr. Goldstein's care. If she hadn't taken the time to test my tumor, I may not have been placed on Tamoxifen. And my breast cancer could have recurred," said Shari, who hit her 5-year mark in September 2007.
"For my daughter's sake, I also participated in the Family Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase. I had genetic testing because I am of Ashkenazic descent, which puts me at greater risk of passing the gene mutation to my daughter. Fortunately, my testing was negative," said Shari.
As a precautionary measure, her daughter, Miranda, will be monitored closely and will get her first mammogram at least 10 years prior to the age at which her mother was diagnosed.
"I have been extremely pleased with the level of care and attention I have received at Fox Chase. I will continue to be monitored by my oncologist and remain part of the Family Risk Assessment Program, even after I hit the 5-year mark later this year," said Shari.