We’re near the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we’ve heard courageous stories from women right here in our area who have not only overcome the odds, but they’re also giving back in major ways.
And as more awareness is brought to breast cancer and it’s treatments, medicine evolves and gets better.
“Scared. Just really scared. Cancer runs in my family,” said Tomiko McElroy in reaction to her diagnosis earlier this year. But they caught it early through her regular mammogram.
“Stage zero cancer. It was cancer but it was stage zero so they believed it had not spread,” McElroy said.
The cancer was so small that you couldn’t see or feel it. But it was there and needed to be dealt with proactively. The first choice a lumpectomy to remove the cancer — possibly a mastectomy.
“It did concern me because I knew I would look a lot different and I talked it over with my husband,” she said.
But Dr. Beth Peterson with Collom and Carney Clinic Association in Texarkana says they have another option called Savi Brachytherapy.
“The Savi catheter is directly inside the cavity where we remove the cancer and it allows them to treat with radiation from inside the cancer bed,” Peterson said.
“She (Dr. Peterson) said it’s really not going to hurt, we’ll do it right in the office and I thought. No way, I know I’m going to be in the hospital, right?” McElroy said.
To her surprise, she says it didn’t hurt at all. Here’s how it works: doctors insert the catheter into the breast twice a day for five days.
McElroy says, for her, early detection was key to saving her life and the new Savi Brachytherapy treatment gave her peace of mind. “I’m definitely happy now that I made that choice. Yes.”
Peterson says the option revolutionizes the way women look at themselves after battling breast cancer. “The disfiguring surgeries that most people associate breast cancer treatment with, that isn’t true anymore.”
And for McElroy, it gives her hope for the future — a future that’s cancer free.
“I feel very blessed and everything has gone really well and I’m going to start working again so that’s a joy,” McElroy said.
If you’re interested in Savi Brachytherapy, see your doctor. You must qualify as a candidate before the procedure can be considered.