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Amy B.

Retired
San Diego, CA
Treated with SAVI – March 2009

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My sister had breast cancer in her early 40s, so I take a proactive approach when it comes to breast health. In 2009, my annual mammogram showed a lump, which turned out to be an invasive ductile carcinoma that was less than one centimeter. My lymph nodes were clear. Before scheduling my lumpectomy, I did a lot of research and took my time to interview surgeons. I Googled “alternatives to radiation” and came across the SAVI treatment.

Finding an alternative to whole breast radiation was very important to me. I have FSH Muscular Dystrophy which means that I have weakened chest muscles. Knowing the potentially adverse effects of whole breast radiation on the chest wall muscles, I knew that wasn’t a good option for me. The ability of my doctor to target the radiation where it was most needed with the SAVI device, avoiding the chest wall and other vital organs, was extremely appealing. Having MD, I also struggle with somewhat low energy levels. I was afraid that the typical six or seven week course of radiation would take its toll on me. Five days of SAVI treatment seemed much more manageable.

Thankfully, one of the surgeons I interviewed, Dr. Cheryl Olson, was very supportive of SAVI. So was my radiation oncologist, Dr. Jean Mefferd, once I stated my rationale for using the SAVI instead of traditional full breast radiation. I had the SAVI device in for about a week. I experienced some discomfort, but the treatment went by in the blink of an eye. My recovery was very fast, and I was back to daily activities in a few days.

I would recommend SAVI to anyone who is a candidate. I belong to a local breast cancer support group, and am happy to see that SAVI is becoming more common. I think it’s important to do your homework and be your own advocate to get the best care suited to your situation.