Breast Cancer Survivors

A fathers diagnosis helps spare his daughters life and together they learn how knowing their familys medical history would save others

Rosenbaum Smith explains that 85% of patients with suspicious calcifications usually have biopsy results that turn out benign, but 15% end up malignant. Vanessa was in the latter set. She had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or stage zero breast cancer––the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer— in which cancer is contained inside the milk ducts. According to the American Cancer Society, DCIS is the most common form of breast cancer, accounting for about 80% of diagnoses in the United States.

Vanessa had calcifications over a large area of her left breast, which eliminated the possibility of a lumpectomy. The surgeon recommended a unilateral mastectomy—the removal of one breast—to treat her cancer, but as a preventive measure Vanessa, a wife and mother of three, decided to have a bilateral mastectomy and ovariectomy—a surgery that removes both breasts and ovaries. “I didn’t want to come back 10 years from now and have another lump,” says Vanessa. “So I decided to get everything removed.”

Battling Chemotherapy Together
Within weeks after Vanessa’s surgery, she and her father started chemotherapy together at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. Concerned that her father hadn’t received proper post-surgery treatment, Vanessa asked her oncologist to take him as a patient. The doctor recommended chemotherapy for both father and daughter—Arnaldo underwent eight rounds of treatment and Vanessa, four. “They never heard of a case like ours in the hospital,” says Arnaldo. “It spread like wildfire and we became like rock stars.” The treatment itself, however, was not so enjoyable.

“It hits you on the third day,” recalls Arnaldo. “You’re weak; you get this bad taste in your mouth. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.” They both lost their hair and dropped 30 pounds between the two of them. “I describe it as having the flu to the 10th power,” says Vanessa. “Your body just aches really badly.”

To better manage the difficult days, the Silvas joined a support dance group of seven female cancer survivors. “This was my support,” says Arnaldo.

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  • Good afternoon. This is a great article. I know of a male who was diagnosed with breast cancer that would like to speak with Mr. Silva. Is it possible for you to our number along to him?

  • melissa

    This article was interesting I was just diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer it has metastisized. The nurse at the hospital expained to me that my daugters will have to be tested for breast cancer starting at 26 since I was 37 when I recieved my diagnosis. I have heard of men having breast cancer but I was surprised to see how many people in the Silva family carried the gene. My son recently asked me can men get cancer. I told him yes but after reading this article when he comes of age I will recommend he also receive a mamogram.

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  • Ali

    visit our aletcris about The Types and Options of Breast Cancer Surgery and Valve Surgery-The Perfect Option For the Perfect Heart Share and

  • Breast cancer, or whatever kind of cancer (kanker) is not an incurable disease. There will always be a way, or even some ways to beat the cancer. Soon, insyaaAllah