Joan R.

Office Manager
San Diego, CA
Treated with SAVI – November 2010

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In October, 2010 I was diagnosed with very early-stage cancer in my left breast. After a needle biopsy and MRI with dye, a lumpectomy was recommended and then performed by a surgeon at UCSD. Shortly after that, my surgeon referred me to Dr. Catheryn Yashar, also at UCSD, who explained in great detail the options for radiation treatment. My initial reaction was a feeling of being overwhelmed with information, fear and a resistance to proceeding with the radiation. Since the tumor was caught so early, I assumed the lumpectomy was all I needed. However, once I got over the shock of knowing that was just the beginning, I decided to make the best of it and made a conscious decision to have a very positive attitude about the whole experience.

Dr. Yashar was extremely thorough in explaining the SAVI treatment and I made the decision almost immediately to choose it over full breast radiation. Actually, for me it was a no-brainer – why would I choose whole breast radiation and risk the side effects of exposing other areas of my body – skin, heart and/or lungs when I could have targeted radiation instead? Also, the fact that the treatment was only for one week made it even more appealing and I felt very lucky that SAVI was an option for me.

Although I was very confident in Dr. Yashar, I was still a little nervous leading up to my treatment. Even though I saw the video of exactly how the SAVI works, the idea of having a foreign object in my body for a week somewhat scared me. Fortunately, I was able to attend the first meeting of UCSD’s SAVI Sisters support group a week before my treatment where I had the opportunity to talk to many other women who already had the SAVI treatment. They answered my many questions and alleviated my fears and concerns. They were not only warm and welcoming but also very reassuring and positive.

My treatment was very much as I expected. Having the device in my breast was a little uncomfortable, especially during the night but not unbearable, and certainly a better alternative than six weeks of radiation treatment. Going to work every day was no problem and after the device was taken out, I was gradually able to resume my workouts at the gym. Contrary to some of the feedback I received, I did experience some minor pain when the device was removed, but again, only for a quick couple of minutes and not difficult to tolerate.

I believe that the benefits of SAVI far outweigh any inconvenience and discomfort, and feel very blessed that I was a candidate. Most of all, I cannot say enough complimentary words about Dr. Yashar and her staff – truly the most wonderful people. They are like a family and each and every one was patient, warm and caring, something I have never experienced to that degree in a medical setting before. Somehow they managed to make the whole experience a positive one and for that I am truly grateful.