Carol S.

Bradenton, FL
Treated with SAVI – March 2012

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I went for my yearly mammogram like I always do. But this time, I was asked to stay for an immediate ultrasound. They saw something very small, so I was scheduled for a biopsy.

When they got my results, my surgeon was out of town, but they didn’t want me to wait in anticipation any longer than necessary, so I received my breast cancer diagnosis by phone. But I saw my surgeon—Dr. Paige Pennebacker (who was just wonderful), I asked him if he was as surprised by the diagnosis as I was and his answer was “Absolutely!” He offered me a lumpectomy followed by partial breast radiation with SAVI, or whole breast radiation. I hadn’t heard about SAVI before, but a friend of mine had partial breast radiation therapy about four years earlier, so it was helpful to talk to her.

For me, the biggest benefit was no burning of the skin, which I know can happen during the 6 weeks of whole breast radiation and I wanted to try to avoid that. Also, I had other family members undergoing radiation or chemotherapy at that time and it was important to me to be available to help them.

I wish I could say that I got over the anxiety involved but I didn’t. I was very nervous. But I had no reason to be so concerned. I had absolutely no complications or inconveniences. Dr. Pennebacker placed the SAVI for me, with no discomfort. Then I was worried about the removal of the device, but it was painless also—just as my radiation oncologist, Dr. Dwight Fitch at 21st Century Oncology, had predicted. He was wonderful too. Really, the only time I had any energy problem was on the 4th day. I was tired after the seventh treatment and exhausted after the eighth, but I drove myself to my treatments 80% of the time.

I would certainly recommend this to anyone I know who was a candidate. If the cancer is small and caught at an early stage, I think it’s a fabulous option.