Kathie S.

Retired Provost, Miami Dade College
Doral, FL
Treated with SAVI – October 2012

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At my routine mammogram, they found a suspicious mass. A repeat mammogram and ultrasound led to biopsy, which confirmed a tumor and cancer. This happened a week before we were scheduled to go on a 25 day cruise to 11 countries.

Since I have a history of ovarian cancer in my family, my doctor wanted me to have the genetic BRCA 1 and 2 genetic testing to make sure I was not carrying the BRCA gene. Maxine Chang, Genetic Specialist, at Memorial Cancer Institute in Hollywood, FL was very helpful, knowledgeable and caring throughout! The BRCA test results took 3 weeks, so all the doctors agreed we should continue on our planned trip. The trip proved to be a wonderful distraction from the worry about the results of the BRCA tests.

Upon our return from the trip, we learned my results from both BRCA 1 and 2 genetic tests were negative! We then met with Dr. Margaret Gilot, a breast surgeon at Cleveland Clinic in Weston, FL, and scheduled my lumpectomy. She also discussed the need for radiation and suggested I might be a candidate for brachytherapy (internal radiation) following the surgery. A week later we received the good news that the lumpectomy was successful, the area around the removed tumor was clear of cancer, and there was no lymph node involvement. I was Stage 1, estrogen and progesterone + and HER2 -. Throughout this process, Dr. Gilot was terrific, gave me great information (I do much better with knowledge!), and kept me informed.

Next step was to Dr. Elizabeth Stone, also at Cleveland Clinic, and the ONCA test, which analyzes the actual tumor removed and tells your chance of reoccurrence with various forms of treatment. These results take 1-2 weeks.

While we were waiting for these results, I was referred to Dr. Christopher Chen, a radiation specialist, who discussed the brachytherapy vs. traditional radiation. I had been doing a lot of online research about brachytherapy, and the balloon device versus the SAVI device. I had seen a presentation online from The Doctors TV Show discussing SAVI, showing the insertion and how it provides the internal radiation to the tumor site. It said 98% of all tumors reoccurring in the same breast reoccur within 1 inch of the original tumor. That is why the SAVI device is so effective. I really liked how the SAVI device worked.

The biggest benefit of SAVI was that it was only 5 days of twice a day radiation! Also, the ease of insertion, living with the device through the radiation treatments, and the ease of removal. My SAVI representative, Gina Hugus, was there for the original insertion at the hospital. She brought a special bra that was very helpful throughout! She was encouraging and positive. She was at the first, second and last radiation treatments and was extremely helpful and informative. She is a definite benefit to SAVI!!!!

During my SAVI treatments, I was a tiny bit tired but felt no pain at all!!! Insertion was painless. I had it inserted on a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday twice a day radiation, then I was happy to have Saturday and Sunday off! Then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday with twice a day radiation and removal after last treatment. The most uncomfortable part was having to have your arm above your head for both CT scans and radiation treatments. However, my wonderful nurse, Lee, suggested I take an Aleve before I left home and that really helped! Removal of the device was only a little uncomfortable at the beginning, as I was starting to heal around the catheters. Some additional numbing did the trick and then it was OUT!

I would recommend the SAVI to everyone who can qualify for it depending on size and location of your tumor and I already have many times! Anyone going through this, who would like to know more is welcome to email me any time.